PROTEGELES also works to combat material which tends to justify racism and xenophobia on the Internet. Reports are constantly being received about this type of content on our Hotline and action is taken against them in the same way as for other illegal contents.
It must be noted, however, that legislation in different countries varies in this field and sometimes contents which are illegal in Spain or the European Union are not always punishable in other countries.
The fundamental legal protection against racism and xenophobia is to be found in Article 14 of the Spanish Constitution, which addresses the principle of equality: "Spaniards are equal before the law and shall not in any way suffer discrimination on account of birth, race, sex, religion, opinion or any other personal or social condition or circumstance."
Article 16 of the Constitution also establishes the freedom of ideology, religion and worship as fundamental rights of individuals and communities with no limitation in their expression other than that necessary for the maintenance of public order as protected by law.
As well as the Constitution, other more specific laws have been drafted on the subject. Their primary aim is to establish anti-racism measures. Basic Law 4/2000, and its amendment of 11.01.2000, on the rights and freedoms of foreign nationals in Spain and their social integration, has the aim of guaranteeing fair treatment to the nationals of third countries who reside legally in the territory of a Member State of the European Union.
This Basic Law implements an integration policy aimed at granting to those residents from third countries rights and obligations comparable to those of EU citizens and to encourage non-discrimination in economic, social and cultural life, with measures to combat racism and xenophobia.
The Basic Law establishes that "Foreign nationals in Spain shall enjoy the rights and freedoms recognised under Title I of the Constitution, under the terms established in International Treaties, in this Law and in those which regulate the exercise of each one of them. As a general criterion for interpretation, it shall be understood that foreign nationals exercise the rights which are recognised under this Law on terms equal to those enjoyed by Spanish nationals”.
In summary, Basic Law 4/2000 consolidates the following rights, among others, for foreign nationals:
I. The right to freedom of movement.
II. The right to public participation.
III. The right to freedom of assembly and demonstration.
IV. The right to freedom of association.
V. The right to education.
VI. The right to work and Social Security.
With the objective of implementing the principle of equal treatment in the European Union, a Directive has been drawn up on the application of the principle of equal treatment of persons regardless of their racial or ethnic origin.
This Directive aims to combat discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin. It completes and reinforces existing national provisions in the field as it includes a common definition of illegal discrimination. In the perspective of the enlargement of the EU, the Directive will contribute to respect for human rights. Furthermore, as it dissuades discrimination, it should also facilitate an increase in participation in economic and social life and a reduction of social exclusion.
In short, this Directive prohibits all discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnic origin. Such discrimination could translate into unfair treatment of the person affected or could mean that any other provision, criteria or practice, apparently neutral at first sight, could have negative consequences for a given person or group of persons. It also obliges Member States to guarantee equal treatment in access to work, whether as an employee or in self-employment, training, education, working conditions, participation in professional organisations, social security and protection, social benefits and access to and the supply of goods and services.
In this context, it is worth noting the measures taken by the United Nations to combat intolerance and racism.
These measures, in the fields of human rights and the struggle against racism, have paralleled some of the most important incidents in the history of human destruction. These are the events which made the United Nations focus the question of discrimination in certain geographical areas, such as central Europe and southern Africa, and in certain specific spheres such as education, employment and political and minority rights.
The United Nations has held its fifty-second period of sessions of its Assembly General (1994-2003), in which it examined the doctrines of racial superiority, the tendency to xenophobia and the ongoing struggle of peoples to achieve self-determination.
In this period of sessions, the United Nations has recognised increasing numbers of incidents of racial discrimination against immigrants and migrant workers and against the Roma people. It also noted the increasing use of mass media, especially the Internet, to incite racial hatred and violence.