The Government of Catalonia participated today in the first day of the European Union's international anti-racism conference “People of African Descent: recognition, justice and development” held at the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art. The conference highlighted the measures implemented by the Government of Catalonia, which are pioneering at the international level, establishing Catalonia as a leader in anti-racist public policies.
The Minister of Equality and Feminisms, Tània Verge i Mestre, stressed that "The Government of Catalonia is committed to building a country and a Europe that is free of racism and wants to be a driving force for change in order to achieve this.
We hope that this international conference will mark a turning point in the fight against racism across the European Union and a call to push for radical change”. Verge also said that "We have a democratic imperative to reverse the injustices that racism imposes on a significant number of our fellow citizens because of their skin colour, phenotype, origin, religious beliefs or other markers of ethno-racial identity. The only possible response is anti-racism".
The minister highlighted the fact that at the head of the Government's anti-racist policies are two women who are members of communities that suffer racism on a daily basis: the Director-General for Migration, Refugees and Anti-racism, Eunice Romero Rivera, the first person of migrant origin to lead migration policies in Catalonia, and the Director of the Government's Office for Equal Treatment and Non-Discrimination, Manuela Fernández Ruiz, the first and only person of Roma origin to hold an institutional post in the Catalan Government. Under their leadership anti-racist policies have been addressed by listening to and working with the people and organisations that suffer racism first-hand and measures have been developed that respond to their real needs.
Eunice Romero Rivera was one of the speakers today at the session "Anti-racist legislation and national action plans". "Listening to the people and communities affected by racism, understanding how they have experienced it in the past and in the present, what they lack, what they need and what they legitimately demand, is key to generating effective anti-racist policies,", she stressed at the session. Romero recalled that in Catalonia the risk of poverty or social exclusion is more than double among the foreign population than among the population with Spanish nationality, and this is also the case for the Roma community.
70 measures to combat racism in Catalonia
As an example of this pioneering work in anti-racism, the Government of Catalonia recently presented the For a Racism-Free Country action plan. 70 measures for social and institutional transformation. The document addresses racism in a cross-cutting manner and includes specific actions that all Catalan government ministries will implement by the end of 2024, with some of them already in progress.
The seventy measures included in the document have a very clear objective: to improve the lives of all individuals with equality of rights and opportunities in their daily lives, without any form of discrimination. Ensuring equitable access to rights such as healthcare, housing, and employment, transforming the administrations to ensure exemplary action, and working on the memory and reparation of systemic racism are the key components upon which the action plan is structured.