lunes, 4 de abril de 2011

We are equal, we are different

It has been 15 years since the youth of Europe mobilized to defend the advance of equal treatment for all people and respect for the diversity of all, so that the idea of equal dignity and fundamental rights would protect universal differences in ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or Sociocultural status. With the motto “We are different, we are equal,” this great campaign against racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and intolerance, driven by the European Council, precisely demanded politics and legislation in favor of a Europe of Tolerance and Solidarity.
The European Union, in keeping with this spirit, adopted the policies of “equal treatment” based on racial or ethnic origin that were badly implemented in 2000 by the government of that time. These policies had already demanded the application of “inversion of the burden of proof” for non-criminal proceedings and the creation of an “independent body” in the defense of victims urging them to strengthen the fight against discrimination in various areas.
In introducing this bill, the government has fulfilled its electoral promise to advance, as demanded by the network of associations, in the oblique and comprehensive fight against discrimination, a fight we were repeatedly reminded of by the Socialist Secretary of Social Movements, who echoed the allegations presented to organizations when they violate fundamental rights and freedoms for having different skin color, being gypsies, homosexuals, disabled, homeless or having any other feature which may stimulate hatred, discrimination, and even violence of the intolerant.
A democratic society is obligated to firmly defend, guarantee, and protect the equal dignity and rights of its people. This is explicitly affirmed in the Spanish Constitution, the Charter of Human Rights, and the European Constitution; international institutions vehemently arguing to coexist democratically. Hence the importance of creating instruments such as the State Authority against Discrimination and other institutions to accompany comprehensive assistance for victims with the necessary measurement data, operator training, and public awareness of citizenship.
Now that discriminatory voices imbued with xenophobic populism are getting stronger, it does well to remind the intolerant of the boundaries made by democratic laws such as the European institutions uniformly demanded and which, after serious incidences of homophobia, Obama did as well by approving a federal law for the prevention of hate crimes.

Esteban Ibarra
President of Movement against Intolerance

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