Spain lays out plans to fight rising number of hate crimes

Spain lays out plans to fight rising number of hate crimes
A protester dressed in the rainbow colours raises his fist as take part in a demonstration to protest against LGBTQ-phobia at the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid on July 11, 2021. Photo: OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP
In an announcement on Friday, the Spanish government said it would create specialised groups within the Interior Ministry and the police force to tackle the rising number of hate crimes that have shocked the country in recent months.

According to the Interior Ministry, hate crimes have grown by around 9 percent every year since 2014.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez chaired an urgent meeting with ministers, community leaders and police after a man said he was violently attacked last weekend in Madrid. The 20-year-old said he was attacked by eight masked assailants who carved the word “maricon” (faggot) on his buttocks with a knife.

While the man later retracted his statement, it came as the country was still in shock after the brutal killing of Samuel Luiz, a nursing assistant who was beaten to death in July, allegedly over his sexual orientation.

READ ALSO: Youth admits vicious gay attack story that shocked Spain was a lie

Spain is generally a country with an open approach to sexuality: a recent YouGov survey showed that 91 percent of people would be supportive if a family member came out as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

It became just the third country in the world to legalise gay marriage in 2005.

But the rise in homophobic violence in recent months has worried rights groups and led to demonstrations.

Hundreds gathered in the centre of Madrid on Saturday to call for the protection of LGBT rights. Banners read “touch one of us, touch us all,” and “we are being killed”.

READ ALSO: Is Spain really a tolerant country when it comes to LGBTQ+ people?

Discriminatory violence against the ethic Roma is also on the rise. In 2018 the Council of Europe Anti-racism Commission (ECRI) urged Spain to “establish a strong independent equality body to promote equality and prevent discrimination”.

On Friday, the committee agreed to increase hiring for the National Anti-Hate Crime Unit. More details about a new three-year plan are expected to be announced later on.


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