The Office for Non-Discrimination (OND) handled 145 cases between January and August this year, providing support for people who have suffered discrimination in the city. Racism and xenophobia (40% of cases) and LGBTI-phobia (24%) were the main causes of discrimination addressed by this municipal service.
The OND handled 57 cases of discrimination due to racism or xenophobia. Victims generally denounced ill treatment because of their origin and there was an increase in cases of discrimination within communities of neighbours, as well as in the restriction or refusal of access to banking services.
Discrimination due to LGBTI-phobia occurs in very different places, from schools to the workplace and the public administration, communities of neighbours and public transport. The office dealt with 11 victims who suffered discrimination on public transport, most of them from the LGBTI collective. The City Council pursued two of these cases as private prosecutor.
In relation to the discrimination suffered by racialised LGBTI people, the Councillor for Citizen Rights, Marc Serra, asserts it is no coincidence they are affected more as the discourse of the institutional far right affords impunity to these types of aggressions. Serra also reaffirmed the role of the City Council when it comes to helping victims and offering free legal advice and psycho-social support to be able to denounce and prevent such discrimination from going unchecked.
Moral integrity, the most violated right
In the cases handled by the OND the most violated rights are moral integrity (28%), which includes ill treatment and insults, and physical integrity (10% of cases).
In lesser measure we find the violation of labour rights, the right to information, to freedom and safety, the provision of services and the right to admission.
Legal advice, backing and support
The OND offers support, advice, mediation and analysis of fines for discrimination, as well as raising awareness on recognised rights and duties in the city. This year has seen the municipal service mainly provide legal advice and support, along with guidance, socio-educational support and empowerment. It has also offers victims of discrimination psycho-social care, mediation and coordination of referrals.
Slight increase in cases compared to 2018
The Office for Non-Discrimination closed out 2018 having handled a total of 224 cases of people suffering discrimination. As with 2019, the main reasons were racism and xenophobia (38%), LGBTI-phobia (16%) and disability (12%).
A comparison between last year and period between January and August this year shows a slight increase in the number of cases handled in 2019 and that discrimination against the LGBTI collective has risen significantly. Serra pointed out that this increase responds to greater trust in the service thanks to its consolidation. The councillor also explained that the volume is expected to gradually increase further, even though there are many cases of discrimination that are never denounced.
The Entities Board, made up of twenty city associations which work with people who have suffered discrimination in very different spheres, is the main ally of the Office for Non-Discrimination. By joining forces and working as a network they provide a more accurate snapshot of discrimination in the city, enable the service to be improved and generate a culture in defence of human rights.
More information can be found at https://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/oficina-no-discriminacio/.