PORTUGAL

SUMMARY REPORT

 

RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA

 

10 TH JULY 1997 - EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

 

PREPARATORY MEETING OF THE ASSOCIATIONS OF SOCIALIST LEGAL COUNSELLORS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION MEMBERS.

 

I - STATISTICS of socialists jurists

 

Number of socialist persons with a degree in law (According to the information furnished by the Socialist Party Headquarters):

 

Degree in law - 1290 members

Lawyers - 804 members

Judges - 7 members

 

II - Portuguese Association of Socialist Jurists

 

The idea of an association of socialist jurists with the purpose of disseminating and preventing the problems raised on matters concerning Racism and Xenophobia, and to defend human rights in general and laws harmonisation was well received within the national context.

 

 

 

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As a matter of fact it will have a unique character and the fact of being involved in a European Network of socialist associations will be of main importance to the implementation and development of its activities.

The composition of the Association will be the following one:

 

  1. Deputies of the Socialist Party within the first Commission (14)
  2. Other deputies with a degree in law (12)
  3. Law Teachers, jurists and lawyers
  4. Others (independent jurists)

 

We are sure to count with the participation within this association, from important entities and current governmental members with high influence in the political and social life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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III -Legal Background

 

  1. The Portuguese Constitution -

 

Article 4. All persons are Portuguese citizens who are considered as such by law or under an international convention;

 

Article 8- 1. The rules and principles of general or ordinary international law shall be integral part of Portuguese Law; 2. Rules derived from international convention duly ratified or approved shall, following their official publication, apply internal law in so far as they are internationally binding on the Portuguese State; 3. Rules issued by the competent organs of international organizations to which Portugal belongs shall apply directly in internal law as long as this is expressly laid down in the respective constitutive treaties;

 

Article 13 (principle of equality) : 1. All citizens shall have the same social dignity and shall be equal before the law. 2. No one shall be privileged, favoured, injured, deprived of any right or exempt form any duty because of his ancestry,

 

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sex, race, language, territory of origin, religion, political or ideological convictions, education, economic situation or

social condition.

 

Article 15 (Aliens, stateless persons and European citizens) - 1. Foreigners and stateless persons sojourning or residing in Portugal shall enjoy the same rights and be subject to the same duties as Portuguese citizens. 2. The foregoing paragraph shall not apply to political rights, to the performance of public duties that are not predominantly technical or to rights and duties restricted to Portuguese citizens under the Constitution and by law.3 (..) 4. (..) 5 (..)

 

Article 18 -. 1. The constitutional provisions relating to rights, freedoms and safeguards shall be directly applicable and binding on public and private bodies.

 

Article 23 - 1. Citizens may present complaints concerning actions or omissions on the part of public authorities to the Ombudsman who shall examine them without power of decision and shall make such recommendation to the appropriate organs as are necessary in order to prevent or make good injustice.

 

Article 24 . 1. Human life shall be inviolable; 2. In no case shall death penalty be applicable

 

 

 

 

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Article 60 - 1. All workers, regardless of their age, sex, race, nationality, land of origin, religions and political or ideological convictions, shall be entitled to ().

 

  1. -Penal Code - article 240 (racial discrimination)

According to this article who comprises an organisation or developed propaganda activities that appeal to discrimination, hate or racial violence or which participate within organisations or in the activities referred above, there will be a punishment with imprisonment penalty from 1 to 8 years.

 

3.3 - Law 64/78 of 6 th October (Extinction of Fascist Organisations)

 

3.4 - Law 7/82 - Convention Against all forms of Racial Discrimination (Convention of 21 December 1965)

 

  1. - Law 70/93, of 29th September (Right of asylum and refugee status)

 

  1. Law 10/91, of 29 th April (amended by the law 28/94, of 29th August) - protection of personnel data

 

3.6. Decree-Law 85-C/75, of 26 th February (amended by the Decree-law 181/76, of 9th march , Decree-Law 377/88, of 24th October and law 1595, of 25th May and Law 8/96, of 14th March) - Freedom of Press

 

 

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3.7 -Penal Proceeding Code - Article 92- Appointment of an interpreter, free of charge, for persons who are involved in proceedings and do not speak or are not fluent in Portuguese

 

 

IV. The legal actions within the context of racism adopted by the Socialist Government during October 1995 to June 1997

 

Within the programme of the XIII Government we may observe a serious concern with minority groups, thus several positive measures were complemented to promote and to increase the social integration of these groups.

 

One main measure concerning this matter was the creation of the post of the High Commissioner for Immigration and Ethnic Minorities .

 

 

  1. The new laws on Racism and immigrants

1995-1997

 

 

The socialist party was particularly concerned with the migration phenomena and it has organised several events on that subject, from which we underline the Meeting of 19 th March that was held at the Parliament

 

 

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under the issue : "The integration of Migrants within the Portuguese Society".".

In that debate there were present several immigration associations, union associations, deputies and the Government responsible for that area. During the debate the main guidelines and legislative trends were explained, and we can observe that all that commitments are being accomplished:

 

  1. These governmental initiatives were the next ones:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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At last but not the least, we must make a reference to the Strategic Agreement Mediation in which it was inscribed the fight against illegal work and against racism and xenophobia attitudes.

 

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VI -The Constitutional Revision

 

As you are aware in Portugal we are doing the IV Process of Amendment of our Constitutional Text and within the commission for the Revision of the Constitution it was already discussed and approved by two thirds majority a new form to the articles 26 and 46 which states:

 

Article 26

Everyone is recognised as having the right to his or her personal identity, development of his or her personality, civil capacity, citizenship, good name and reputation, and likeness, the right to speak out and the right to the protection of privacy of his or her personal and family life and to the legal protection against all forms of discrimination.

 

 

ARTIGO 46

Freedom of Association

1- (...).

2- (...).

3- (...).

4- Armed, military-type, militarised or para-military associations outside the State and the Armed Forces and racist organizations or which adopt fascist ideology shall not be permitted.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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VII - The Portuguese Ngos

 

In Portugal the main organizations concerning the prevention, and protections of racism victims are SOS Racism and Anti-Racism Front.

 

They are connected to the left wing parties (Communist Party and Socialist Revolutionary Party). However they have developed interesting programmes in schools, seminars, legal counselling, reports and publications.

 

We also can mention the Portuguese Refugee Council (PRC) which is an Ngo created in 1991 with the main purpose of providing legal counselling and social assistance to refugees and asylum seekers within Portugal. However the problems such as racism and xenophobia are also of the interest of this important Ngo.

 

The PRC was invited by the High Commissioner for Immigration and Ethnic Minorities to take part on the National Commission for Coordination of the European Year Against Racism.

This Council is also involved with the United Intercultural Action (an umbrella organisation) and with the Starting Line Group.

 

 

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VIII - ECRE and ELENA

 

The European Council on Refugees and Exilees (ECRE) is a forum for co-operation among more than 60 non-governmental organizations in Western Europe concerned with refugees and the right of asylum (The PRC is one of the members agencies).

 

One of the instruments used by ECRE to achieve its purposes is the European Legal Network on Asylum (ELENA). ELENA is a legal forum for practioners who promote the human rights standard for the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in daily individual counselling and advocacy work.

 

The Portuguese Co-ordinator for Elena is Susana Amador since 1994, representing the Portuguese Refugee Council.

 

IX - CIG 1996

 

We congratulate the Governments for the improvements concerning Racism and Xenophobia namely the creation of a new Article 6-A of non-discrimination as well as for the incorporation of Asylum and immigration issues within the I st Pillar. This transference will correspond, we are sure, to a reinforcement of the fundamental rights of the citizens, allowing for full democratic and judicial control.

 

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X- Conclusions

 

A multitude of complex factors has exacerbated the manifestation of Racism and Xenophobia. A severe economic recession and resulting mass unemployment and a loss of identity in a rapidly changing world have all contributed to the alienation of large sectors of the population.

 

This discontentment and the search for scapegoats associated with it, is exploited more or less explicitly by political parties aimed at electoral purposes in all European States and has contributed to a dramatic upsurge in Racism and Xenophobia.

 

A dislike of foreigners among some sections of some populations is often referred by Governments when they develop policies towards refugees and in particular measures which try to detain asylum seekers. In this hostile environment refugees are often portrayed as being a burden for the state, a risk to the state country and to the demographic structure of the first country.

 

As a political reaction to the increasing acts of violence against migrants and people of immigrant origin, both the European Parliament and the Council of Europe adopted detailed recommendations to fight racism and xenophobia.

The main recommendations to be followed are:

 

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  1. Banishing laws which make discrimination on grounds of race or ethnicity;
  2. Promoting equal treatment and opportunity policies for nationals and non-nationals;
  3. Combating negative attitudes towards asylum seekers and refugees throughy the promotion of a broader understanding throughout national communities engaged to their plight

4 - Ensuring that all law enforcement personnel receive training in cultural awareness.

5 - Governments, where necessary, should guarantee non-discrimination on grounds of race and equal rights for all individuals in their constitutions and legislation;

  1. Governments, where necessary, should undertake to review and update all national legislation and remove from it all discriminatory provisions;
  2. Legislations should be consistent with international standards embodied in international instruments;
  3. Victims of discrimination should be informed and advised of their rights, by all possible means, and given assistance in securing those rights;
  4. Governments should, where necessary, establish appropriate and effective machinery, including conciliation and mediation procedures and national commissions to ensure that such legislation was enforced effectively and thereby to promote equality of opportunity and good race relations.

 

(Oswaldo Castro) (Susana Amador)

 

Vice- President of the Parliamentary Group of Legal Counsellor of the

Socialist Party Socialist Party( 1St

Lawyer Commission)

 

Lisbon, 8th July 1997

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