There were instances of societal violence and discrimination against members of racial and ethnic minorities, and the government generally undertook efforts to combat the problem.
During 2010 the government-sponsored Network of Centers for Assisting Victims of Discrimination received 235 complaints of discrimination, of which 39 percent were from the African community, 20 percent from the Romani community, and 17 percent from the Latin American community. Of the complaints, 24 percent were related to discrimination based on unequal access to goods and services in both the public and private sectors, 22 percent were against
security forces, and 17 percent were related to discrimination in the workplace. The 2010 Raxen Report by the Movement against Intolerance estimated that there are approximately 4,000 racially motivated crimes in the country each year as well as over 200 xenophobic Web sites. The Office of the Spanish Ombudsman reported 48 complaints of racism and xenophobia in 2010.
On March 10, the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued a report urging the country to take effective measures to eradicate the identification controls based on ethnical and racial approaches," which can lead to unfair arrests. The committee urged Spain to review the police staff
notice 1/2010 where arrest quotas of immigrants were included. According to the media, since 2008, the National Police have had orders to identify as many possible illegal immigrants in Madrid, with the objective of expelling them from the country. Four police unions have confirmed the reports both to the
Office of the General Prosecutor and the ombudsman, stating that they were forced to arrest foreigners just because they look like foreigners and could be without papers. The Ministry of Interior had denied the existence of the controls.
According to the domestic NGO Fundacion Secretariado Gitano (FSG), Roma continued to face discrimination in access to employment, housing, and
education. The Romani community, which the FSG estimated to number 650,000, experienced substantially higher rates of unemployment, poverty, and illiteracy than the general population. During the year the FSG reported 115 cases of discrimination against Roma, of which 30 percent involved discriminatory portrayals of Roma in the media and online.
On April 4-6, Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, visited Madrid and met with the secretary general of social policy and consumption, Isabel Martinez Lozano. In his report on the visit, Hammarberg noted that the economic downturn had a disproportionally severe impact on Roma, whose rate of employment in 2009 declined by 35 percent, compared with a decline of 18 percent experienced by the general population, and may endanger improvements the country has achieved. He also noted that disproportionate numbers of Roma continued to live in segregated and substandard dwellings, with civil society reporting that 12 percent of Roma in the country lived in substandard housing and 4 percent lived in shantytowns. Hammarberg criticized certain Spanish media" for propagating negative stereotypes about immigrants and Roma, associating them with illegality, deviance, and lack of adaptation."
Politicians known for their hard-line stances against immigration gained ground following Catalonia's municipal elections in May. Xavier Garcia Albiol of the Popular Party of Catalonia became the new mayor of Badalona, a suburb of Barcelona that is the third largest city by population in Catalonia, in part due to his polemical views linking immigrants from Romania and other countries to crime and promising a tougher stance on illegal immigration. As a result of a 2010 campaign flyer linking immigrants to crime that stated We don't want Roma," Albiol was charged with inciting racist hate. As of year's end,
investigators were determining whether to send the case to trial.
In the May elections, the far-right, anti-immigrant Platform for Catalonia (PxC) increased its number of city council representatives in Catalonia from 17 to 67, but the party neither won any mayoral races nor earned a seat in the regional parliament. In November Juan Carlos Fuentes Linares, the PxC's former
secretary general and city councilman in the town of Vic, was sentenced to one-and-a-half years in prison for inciting hate. The charges stemmed from anti-Muslim pamphlets that Fuentes Linares distributed in the 2007 election campaign. In the same trial, the court absolved PxC founder and president Josep Anglada of the same charges, citing insufficient evidence to prove that Anglada knew about the pamphlets.
On May 27, the government approved the disciplinary code of the armed forces, which calls for penalties for the use of any type of discriminatory or xenophobic expressions.
On November 4, the Council of Ministers approved the Integral Strategy against Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia. The strategy called for improvement in the gathering of statistical information from public institutions, strengthening of the cooperation between entities and institutions, and
creation of prevention plans for vulnerable groups, including immigrants, refugees, unaccompanied minors, or those suffering discrimination because of their gender or religious beliefs. The strategy paid special attention to labor discrimination.