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Anti-Xenophobic Rhetoric

Anti-Xenophobic Rhetoric Pedro Sanchez, Prime Minister of Spain, addresses the UN General Assembly.

It is quite typical among government representatives to issue statements against xenophobia and radical nationalism on the occasion of special events, memorial days and international discourses. Most relevant in this regard in 2017 is the Institutional Declaration issued on March 17, 2017 on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In this declaration, the government declares that the fight against racial or ethnic discrimination is a priority at both domestic and international levels; it recalls the existing legal framework, focusing on the most recent legislative reforms; and details its position on this issue in international and regional forums. The Declaration concludes by reaffirming Spain's commitment to combat racial or ethnic discrimination as a prerequisite for the full exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

With regard to prominent political activists, there were many statements against racism and discrimination. It is especially important to mention the response of the Barcelona City Council to the terrorist attacks that took place on August 17, 2017, in Barcelona and Cambrils. Indeed, the mayor of the city, Ada Colau, expressed his clear intention not to allow "hatred or racism to take root in us." Following this, on August 21, 30 religious organizations signed a common manifesto condemning the attacks and expressing their common desire "to fight fundamentalism, religious prejudice and extremism. Moreover, the Barcelona City Council led the preparation of a manifesto of municipalities against Islamophobia, which was read during the celebration of the International Day against Islamophobia, December 12, 2017.

In September 2018, speaking at the UN General Assembly, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez advocated for multilateralism, diversity and legal immigration, stressing that Spain is one of the few European countries without an openly xenophobic party in parliament.

In March 2019, Spain's National Security Council warned of rising xenophobia in Spain. In a report approved March 15, the council found that while "Spanish attitudes toward immigration remain more favorable" than the European average, there has been "a slight decline in the positive trend" in recent years. "We must inform the public about the positive effects of immigration and the positive value of diversity," the document said.

In July 2021, Spain's National Council for the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination condemned the murder of Junes Bilal, a 37-year-old Moroccan man who was fatally shot in a bar on June 13 of that year by a Spaniard who had racially insulted him and his friends. The council also condemned any racist acts of aggression, urging "members of the media and the public" to avoid "racist or xenophobic narratives that impede coexistence in our country." In a 2020 council report, the council reported a nationwide increase in racial and ethnic discrimination, caused in part by far-right political groups and fake news. Mr. Antumi Toasie, chairman of the council, which operates as an autonomous branch of the Department of Equal Rights, believes that "there is a clear link between political discourse and actions in the streets," adding that the current number of racist attacks is largely understated.

The council has been the first to report the increase in racial and ethnic discrimination.

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