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Spain: Anti-discrimination initiatives by local authorities on the rise

In response to the increasing number of hate crimes registered in Spain and in particular those related to Islamophobia, several anti-discrimination initiatives have emerged throughout Spain and local authorities are among major actors. From protocols to training courses, autonomous communities have been active in the fight against discrimination the past weeks.

The most recent initiative occurred on 25 October when Valencia's parliament unanimously requested immediate action against Islamophobia to its Government. MPs urged the Government to boost the local Plan on Equal Treatment and Fight Against Hate Crimes and to include specific action against Islamophobia, cyber-hate and bullying.

10 days before, it was reported that the city of Barcelona created a protocol to avoid discrimination towards religious entities in the public space. The city hall explained that until now the uneven criteria created discrimination in the access of religious entities to the public space. The protocol will ensure that all religious entities face the same criteria when requesting the use of public spaces. 30.000€ are also earmarked for a training plan on religious diversity and guidelines on the management of religious diversity.

The municipality of Puertollano in Castilla La Mancha revealed its police manual against hate crimes on 13 October. This manual was created to improve relationships between the local police and the most vulnerable social groups, and to improve the understanding of police forces with regards to racism, homophobia and xenophobia. The manual also incorporates recommendations from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe such as the use of indicators for the identification of such penal infractions.

In September, the city hall of Getxo in the Basque Country launched a training course on racism and xenophobia for its civil servants, based on the already its existing anti-rumour campaign.