Spain: Attack of the headquarters of “SOS Racismo Madrid”

Urgent Appeal
en es

The Observatory has been informed about the attack of the headquarters of “SOS Racismo Madrid”, a human rights organisation which fights against racism and xenophobia since 1992.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Spain.

Description of the situation:

According to the information received, on February 21, 2014 at around 5 a.m., a group of supporters of the extreme right-wing party “Democracia Nacional” (DN) attacked the premises of SOS Racismo Madrid, in the Lavapiés district of the Spanish capital.

Members of DN placed a large banner with hung puppets on the front of the building, containing xenophobic catchwords such as “Stop the invasion!” and blaming the human rights organisation for its “anti-spanish” activities of “denouncing those who protect [spanish] borders”. They also threw firecrackers into the offices of SOS Racismo, attracting the attention of the neighbours who called the police.

The nationalist party openly claimed having initiated this action, placed its logo on the banners that were hung on the facade of SOS Racismo Madrid, and posted pictures of the action on its public Facebook page.

DN further decided to organise a protest on March 8, 2014 in the same neighbourhood of Lavapiés, with the slogan “Stop the invasion! We have to protect our borders”.

SOS Racismo has strongly denounced this attack as an unacceptable threat against its human rights activities and filed a complaint against the DN, which led to the opening of an investigation by the police. In addition, representatives of SOS Racismo requested an interview with the Prosecutor specialised in hate crimes and discrimination.

The Observatory firmly condemns this attack against the headquarters of SOS Racismo, which represents a clear threat against the human rights activities of the NGO, and more generally an infringement against freedom of expression and the fight against racism and xenophobia in Spain.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Spanish authorities, urging them to:

i. Take all necessary measures to guarantee in all circumstances the protection of the human rights organisation SOS Racismo Madrid, its members and all human rights defenders in Spain, from any attack or threat;

ii. Conduct a proper, thorough, and timely investigation about the attack committed against the headquarters of SOS Racismo Madrid in order to identify all those responsible and sanction them according to law;

iii. React promptly to all racist and xenophobic actions undertaken by extremists movements and their supporters in Spain;

iv. Take all necessary measures to protect all human rights defenders in Spain from any kind of harassment, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their work without unjustified hindrances;

v. More generally, conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially:
- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,
- and its Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Spain.


Head of the Royal House, Mr. Rafael SPOTTORNO DIAZ-CAR Casa de su Majestad el Rey, Palacio de La Zarzuela, Carretera del Pardo s/n, 28071 Madrid, España, Tel: +34 91 599 24 24
President of the Government, Mr. Mariano RAJOY BREY, Complejo de la Moncloa, Avda. Puerta de Hierro, s/n. 28071 Madrid, España
First Vice-President, Minister of the Presidency and Spokeman of the Government, Mme Soraya SAENZ de SANTAMARIA, Complejo de la Moncloa, Avda. Puerta de Hierro, s/n. 28071 Madrid, España
Minister of Interior, Mr. Jorge Fernández DIAZ, Calle Amador de los Ríos, 7, 28010 Madrid, España: Tel: +34 060
Minister of Justice, M. Alberto RUIZ-GALLARDO, San Bernardo, 45, 28071 Madrid, España, Tel: + 34 902 007 214/+34 91 837 22 9
Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Cooperation, Mr. José Manuel GARCIA MARGALLO, Sede Palacio de Santa Cruz, Plaza de la Provincia, 1, 28012 Madrid, España, Tel: + 34 91 379 97 00

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Spain in your respective country.

Paris-Geneva, February 28, 2014

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

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