Updates from July, 2013 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 12:09 pm on July 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Pro Igual and Ferrocarril Clandestino present a communication to the UN Commision on Women 

    Within the framework of our work on the rights of migrants in Spain, Pro Igual has cooperated with Ferrocarril Clandestino and prepared a joint communication to the UN Commission on Women on the Human Rights Violations of Migrant Women in Spain: Detention in CIEs.

    The communication draws the UN Comission´s attention to singling out of migrant women through ethnic profiling and disproportionate use of deprivation of liberty for migrant women for mere administrative infractions, such as not having paperwork in order. Migrant women in CIEs suffer a range of human rights abuses, ranging from absent due process or legal counsel to separation from families and small children and lack of healthcare even for pregnant women.

    Pro Igual and Ferrocarril Clandestino put forth recommendations to the Spanish authorities to remedy this situation.

    The text of the submission is available here.

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 4:17 pm on June 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    ¿Hacer visible lo invisible? #15J 

    Varias organizaciones queremos poner en marcha una propuesta, una que sume a muchas más. El día 15 de junio os proponemos realizar un “DIA CONTRA LOS CENTROS DE INTERNAMIENTO DE EXTRANJEROS”.

    ¿De qué se trata?

    Es un día en el que muchas organizaciones nos sumamos a hacer actividades que den visibilidad a la existencia de estos centros. Si aún no sabes lo que son y quieres información puedes consultar las páginas de muchas organizaciones y los informes que se han elaborado al respecto

    ¿Para qué?

    Para hacer visible lo invisible. Los Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros son cárceles racistas que atentan contra el Estado de Derecho. El objetivo es visibilizar esta realidad tan desconocida aún, que afecta a vecinas y vecinos de nuestros barrios. Las organizaciones que trabajamos en esto nos damos cuenta de lo difícil que es darla a conocer. El primer paso para cambiar algo es hacerlo visible. Firma apoyo.


    Las propuestas pueden ser individuales o grupales. Os ponemos algunos ejemplos para que no os quedéis en blanco:

    • Si tienes un grupo folclórico puedes salir y tocar contra los CIE.
    • Si sabes, puedes bailar un tango, milonga contra los CIE.
    • Si lo tuyo es el hip hop, la salsa ¿Por qué no un certamen anti-CIE?
    • Puedes escribir una poesía, una canción, un texto.
    • Si eres profe puedes dedicar un día a hablar de esto a tu alumnado, de cualquier nivel.
    • Si tienes medios puedes convocar un concurso (de escritos, de diseño, etc.)
    • Si tienes un blog, facebook, tweeter, puedes ayudar a difundir e impulsar que otras personas lo hagan.
    • Si eres religioso puedes compartirlo con tu comunidad.
    • Si sois muchas personas podéis hacer una concentración o un pasacalles.
    • Si sois pocas personas podéis hacer un acto simbólico, poner un muro de expresión, una mesa informativa.
    • Si estáis en una radio o una televisión podéis crear una cuña o un anuncio publicitario.
    • Si estáis en la universidad podéis proponer una charla, una exposición, repartir panfletos e informar.
    • Si tenéis vocación periodística podéis escribir un pequeño artículo o hacer una entrevista.
    • Si estáis compartiendo piso, se lo podéis contar al resto o a vuestra familia.
    • Si sois una asociación cultural podéis hacer un videoforum.
    • Si tenéis talento para el street art y el graffiti podéis animaros a crear.
    • Si sois más fiesteros podéis hacer una fiesta.
    • Si estás en un centro de salud, en una escuela o cualquier centro público, puedes colgar un cartel.
    • Si tienes un negocio también puedes colgar material gráfico.

    En definitiva ¡Todo lo que se os ocurra! Esperamos vuestras propuestas y si queréis os ayudamos a pensarlas. También crearemos materiales para que podáis utilizar en la difusión si queréis.

    Escribe tu propuesta aquí o mándala a cerremosloscie@gmail.com .

    No se os olvide sacar fotos y hacer un pequeño resumen para compartir
    Iremos subiendo todas vuestras propuestas, mapeando la ciudad de Madrid de norte a sur con vuestras colaboraciones.

    Al final del día haremos una propuesta en la que poder reunirnos y vernos las caras el máximo número de personas posibles. tenemos algunas ideas pero también esperamos las vuestras.

    Consulta las Propuestas recibidas y los Apoyos con los que contamos.
  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 1:23 pm on April 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    Pro Igual has a new website 

    Dear friends,

    We have just finished restoring the Pro Igual website after it was maliciously hacked a few weeks ago. For technical reasons, it was easier to start from scratch than to try and save the pieces of the compromised site. So, please update your bookmarks and help share the new link among your contacts who you think might be interested in our work:


    We also welcome your feedback on the site´s “new look.”

    Thank you and kind regards,

    Pro Igual team

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 9:58 pm on June 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Did Spain just sentence to death thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS? 

    Alphia Abdikeeva, CIDH Pro Igual

    Spain is passing through tough economic times, and undoubtedly sacrifices need to be made to pull it out of the crisis. But at what cost? At first glance, the state budget 2012 practically puts thousands of people leaving with HIV/AIDS in Spain on a death row: funding for HIV programs has been cut to zero, from c. six million in the previous year.

    Why them, why so drastically? Did people leaving with HIV/AIDS cause the economic crisis rattling Spain and most of Europe? Are there no other, less cruel, budget reductions that could have been made?

    Why was the budget for the royal family only cut by 2% (c. 170,000 euro)? Could not the crown, in spirit of solidarity, let go of some of luxuries, such as hunting elephants or other animals in different parts of the world? The defence has not been particularly squeezed, either — but does Spain really face military threats? And why does the Catholic church continue receiving considerable state subsidies, in addition to enjoying a tax-free status, isn´t Spain constitutionally a secular state?

    One must question the reasoning behind at the same time cutting the education budget by 20% and the health budget by 6% amounting to nearly 10 million euro. Immigrants in irregular situation are among the first on a chopping bloc being from now on denied access to healthcare save for emergency services (and make no mistake: whenever sacrifice of the most vulnerable begins, it never ends there, it goes on to require more and more victims).

    Further to add an insult to injury, the Spanish government announced that it would support a failing bank with billions of euro. Thus banks, chiefly responsible for the current economic crisis, get state handouts taking funds from the innocent, in this case people with HIV/AIDS, as well as immigrants, pensioners, and young people. What´s more, the debt burden for bank bailouts is shifted onto future generations, both directly — through a growing public debt — and indirectly — through cutting educational and professional opportunities for the youth.

    The 2012 budget reductions, while being necessary and perhaps inevitable, show that something is fundamentally wrong with the Spanish state´s priorities and the state has better fix them before more damage is done.

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 8:57 pm on April 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Anti-discrimination “crisis cards”: know your rights and defend them 

    Low awareness about one´s rights and opportunities for redress for rights violations can be a serious obstacle to attaining equality. Unfortunately, groups which are most likely to experience discrimination are also the ones which are least likely to know their rights and of the existing remedies. Thus, despite considerable evidence of discrimination and harassment against minorities, foreigners, and other vulnerable groups – in Spain as elsewhere, – reporting of discrimination is rather low. Known cases most probably present only a tip of the iceberg.

    In response to this problem, CIDH Pro Igual has developed anti-discrimination “crisis cards.” The AD “crisis cards” provide key information for foreigners, ethnic minorities, and other most likely victims of discrimination in Spain on steps to take if they experienced discrimination or harassment from public or private entities. The “crisis cards” are currently available on the Pro Igual website: http://www.cidh.es/ in EnglishSpanish, and  Romanian for downloading, printing, and sharing. In future, translations into other languages spoken by the principal minority and immigrant groups in Spain will be also available. In addition, Pro Igual will look into opportunities to disseminate this practice among other NGOs, as well as official bodies, and develop other thematic cards.

    USER INSTRUCTIONS: Each A4 sheet contains five cards that should be cut along the horizontal lines and folded in half, so they become a size of an average credit card. If desired, the cards can be also laminated and kept along with other cards in one´s wallet.

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 1:44 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    The Spanish Supreme Court upholds the sentence for the Spanish Hammerskins 

    By Alphia Abdikeeva, CIDH Pro Igual

    In February 2012 the Spanish Supreme Court upheld the sentence giving prison terms for members of the Spanish section of the neo-nazi organization “Hammerskin” and ordering the dissolution of the Hammerskin-España. The 16 neo-nazis in question were handed penalties ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 years in prison, in addition to 2700 euro fine for each. The original sentence was issued in July 2009 by the Madrid court and was in essence the first such indictment in Spain.

    Note: The “Nation Hammerskin” was established in Texas, USA, in 1987 by a group of white supremacists. The movement gradually spread to other parts of the country as well as abroad. There are sections in France, Italy, Germany as well as Spain. Each national section functions autonomously, but maintaining close links with other sections. The organization´s name derives from the organization´s logo: two crossed hammers.

    The Spanish hammerskins were arrested as a result of the “Operation Dagger”in 2004. The operation was triggered by a string of racially-motivated attacks around Madrid in the final months of 2003. The investigation carried out by the Spanish Civil Guard and lasting several months led to the arrest of 16 individuals in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Guadalajara. The arrested, aged between 27 and 43, had the history of 48(!) prior arrests for violence and illegal possession of arms. The Civil Guard uncovered numerous material evidence of the group´s violent activities: firearms, ammunition, knives, daggers, baseball bats, and nazi paraphernalia and propaganda materials inciting to violence against other racial/ethnic groups.

    Note: Hammerskin España was established around 2000. It was a structured and organized movement, spreading across the entire country and funding itself through the sale of magazines, concerts, and other economic activities. It carried out regular attacks on Blacks and other persons perceived to be “foreign” in Spain. Their activities came to light following an undercover journalist investigation.

    The Movement against Intolerance that acted as a party to the case joined with the prosecution asking for up to 76 years in prison for the accused. Nevertheless, the Movement´s president, Esteban Ibarra, welcomed the sentence for “advancing fight against racism, xenophobia, and intolerance.”

    Indeed, it has been a pioneer judgment given decades of virtually total impunity for neo-nazi activism in Spain, as Pro Igual covered in its earlier article of the miniseries exploring the connection between neo-nazi movement and hate crimes in this country. CIDH Pro Igual looks forward to further instances of official investigation into neo-nazi crimes in Spain and meaningful sentences for all perpetrators of hate crimes.

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 3:27 pm on February 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    The wasp nest: the origins and proliferation of neonazi organizations in Spain 

    By Demetrio Gomez Avila, CIDH Pro Igual

    This is the second issue in the mini-series of articles exploring the connection between neonazi organizations and hate crimes in Spain. The introductory article was published last month at the Pro Igual blog and is available here.

    The connection between contemporary hate crimes and neonazi movement has its origins in Spain´s troubled history since the end of the WWII. At the time when some countries sighed human rights treaties and created institutions to ensure that past atrocities would never happen again, some other countries – including Spain – did everything in their power to help nazis flee and evade responsibility for their participation in the biggest crimes committed against humanity. Thus, the country on the one hand acquired a toxic asset of influential nazi criminals settling and operating on its soil, and on the other hand missed out on the development and maturing of human rights institutions capable to contain the proliferation of anti-democratic and violent forces in the society.

    Despite official declaration of neutrality following the fall of the Third Reich, the Franco regime provided a refuge to the nazi fugitives, turning Spain into a genuine safe haven for hundreds of high-profile nazi criminals, including “Dr. Death” (Aribet Herbert Heim). Upon their arrival, the nazis immediately established a network of communication and mutual assistance via three principal organizations that facilitated their escape and resettlement. (One such smuggling organization was called ODESSA, a German abbreviation of the “Organization of former SS-members.”)

    Thanks to this mutual assistance network, as well as the tax haven the Franco´s Spain presented to them, the nazis have strengthened their cohesion as a group and grew their financial resources flowing from money laundering during unfettered property speculation on the Mediterranean coast. The old nazis lived in complete tranquility, passing their ideology and methodology on to new groups of violent extremists quietly growing and maturing within the Spanish society. By 1966, the nazi fugitives together with radical Falange members created CEDADE (Circulo Español de Amigos de Europa), the only neonazi organization in Europe legally established since the end of the WWII. Among CEDADE members were former officers of Gestapo and SS (including Otto Skorzeny and León Degrelle), high-ranking Spanish military and members of Franco´s Guarde. CEDADE was dissolved only in 1993.

    Last but not least list link in this chain of events was a total absence of any judicial action against the nazis in Spain. Survivors of nazi crimes almost did not press charges, with a notable exception of Violeta Friedman, and the Spanish authorities did nothing to prosecute any nazi crimes on their own. The nazi fugitives enjoyed complete and utter impunity. They published fighting manuals, delivered revisionist speeches and presentations, and harbored Holocaust deniers wanted internationally. Some of their published materials (i.e. SS-Werewolf Combat Instructions) serve as a reference point for neonazi groups around the world, while the so-called “Liberia Europa” in Barcelona is known as one of the chief distribution centers of nazi publications in Europe.

    Following the establishment of democracy in Spain, the nazis had to adopt a low profile to avoid deportation and subsequent criminal prosecution. At that time, international hunt for Dr. Heim brought investigators to Alicante and Malaga, and although not resulting in the capture of Heim, it shed light on a lot of forgotten information. The German police that traveled to Spain to complete investigation uncovered scores of former SS officers hiding and actively operating in Spain. (An excellent account of the nazi post-WWII activities in Spain is given in Joan Cantarero´s book “La Huella de la Bota.”)

    Thus we can see that there is a clear ideological and generational connection between nazi criminals finding a refuge in Spain after the WWII and the modern neonazi or pro-nazi organizations. Contemporary nazi criminals cannot and must not be dismissed as “maladaptable youths” “acting on an impulse,” but must be taken seriously as heirs and bearers of a deadly ideology, acting as part of an organized clandestine movement and responsible for carefully thought-out and extremely violent acts. Spanish judicial system must react accordingly, dedicating adequate resources and energy to stop and prevent legal functioning of neonazi organizations and pursue perpetrators of hate crimes with all severity of the law.

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 10:33 pm on December 31, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Looking Back at 2011: From Arab Spring to Occupying Indignation and Winter of Russian Discontent 

    Alphia Abdikeeva, CIDH Pro Igual

    It has been one tough year: tsunamis, earthquakes, nuclear calamities, not to mention suffocating economic crises across the world. Yet 2011 has also witnessed remarkable awakening of human social consciousness which seemed dormant if not atrophied after decades of dumb self-centered consumerism and prevailing political apathy.

    Spring started with revolutions in several Arab countries, putting out of business long-term dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, as well as putting to shame “old” European democracies. The stereotypes of radical Islam and autocracy-leaning Muslims hostile to human rights have been shaken, while the self-proclaimed “beacons of liberty” – France, the UK and the USA – were exposed for their cozy dealings with the dictators at the expense of oppressed populations.

    The effect of the Arab Spring has been so powerful that it would spill over into the West. The movement of the indignant started in Spain, catching on in other European countries; various Occupy offshoots – from Wall Street to DC to smaller communities — started in the USA; and demonstrations for social justice swept Israel.

    Anti-corruption protests have also taken place in India and even in parts of China, where the affluent and increasingly vocal middle class has demanded bigger say in the countries´  affairs.

    Last but not least social awakening of the year happened in Russia where allegations of blatant election fraud proved too much even for proverbially patient and politically disengaged public. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators showed daily to protest corruption and demand new elections, ultimately forcing grudging concessions – if not of the elections rerun, then at least of cleaner elections next time around.

    While concrete and positive outcomes of new social movements across the globe remain to be seen, this unprecedented in recent history awakening of public social consciousness gives hope for the new 2012 year: the year when political accountability, financial transparency, social justice and human rights may be a touch closer.

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 7:40 am on August 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    The Human Project 

    The Chinese curse goes “May you live in interesting times.” Perhaps living in boring times is not much of a blessing either. But as someone who has children and wishes that they live in a better world, and be spared catastropic events and tragedies, I would like to recommend to our followers a new and exciting project in the making: The Human Project App. Here is what it means:

    There are so many challenges that confront the species as a whole. The ones that get a lot of press (like climate change, food & water shortages, poverty, war, overpopulation and economic crises). The ones that don’t (like comets and asteroids, extreme experiments in science, technological terror and error). The ones that we humans don’t even imagine we can solve (like mega volcanoes, mega earthquakes, nearby supernova explosions, a dying sun, an aging universe). And there are plenty of visions too (like a space-faring civilization, transhumanism, zero carbon world, general artificial intelligence, the end of poverty, universal human rights, designing life and matter, zero nuclear weapons, the end of aging).

    Everything is so fragmented. Every expert claims their issue matters most. Everyone fighting for their share of attention. So few have the big picture. Nobody seems to have their eye on the species as a whole.

    After two and a half years of research it became pretty clear: we humans need a new way to look. We need to see ourselves as one species. Develop a big picture view and a grounded, coherent vision to guide us. We need to start asking the really big questions: Who do we want to become as a species? Where do we want to go next?

    The Human Project App is the starting point for answering the really big questions.

    To learn more about The Human Project and to see how you can get involved and support it, please visit this site: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thehumanprojectapp/the-human-project-app .

  • Centro de Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos 8:48 pm on August 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Tyrant is gone. Long live the Tyrant. 

    Alphia Abdikeeva, CIDH Pro Igual

    Finally, the Libyan rebels produced a draft “Transitional” Constitution. Although the title suggests that it is provisional, or temporary, human experience teaches us that there is nothing more permanent than temporary, take for example the German Basic Law (although these two documents are further apart than the continents).

    Article 1

    “… Islam is the Religion of the State and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia)”

    Not a word about international treaties to which Libya is a party and peremptory norms of international law (such as most fundamental human rights).

    Article 6

    “Libyans are brothers (SIC!) … Libyans shall be equal before the law. They shall enjoy equal civil and political rights, shall have the same opportunities, and be subject to the same public duties and obligations, without discrimination due to religion, belief, race, language, wealth, kinship, or political opinions or social status. The State shall guarantee for woman all opportunities which shall allow her to participate entirely and actively in political, economic and social spheres.”

    Article 7

    “Human rights and his (emphasis added) basic freedoms shall be respected.”

    So, in the new Libya, women will have opportunities to participate “entirely and actively,” but they are not equals of men, regardless of religion, belief, race, language, wealth, kinship, or political opinions or social status? The new regime would have to do some convincing that for Libyan women this is going to be better than a travelling harem of the MIA colonel. Tyrant is gone, Long Live the Tyrant?

    One could say no great surprises there, but a bitter aftertaste of disappointment remains.

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