The confinement and the Covid-19 restrictions in the Mediterranean country led to a generalised fall in all kind of hate crimes. Statistics could be “deceitful”, says the government.
Throughout 2020, there were 1,401 hate crimes, 17.9% less than in 2019.
The government says this reduction of crimes could have been “influenced by the confinement between the months of March and June”.
When the figures are looked at more closely, it is clear that only 427 of the 1,401 hate crimes happened in the first semester of the year, when the Covid-19 pandemic almost entirely halted the activity of the population for several weeks. Over twice as many hate crimes were committed in the second half of 2020.
In this context the final figures could be “deceitful”, the Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said. “The data actually shows us that in the last years we are having an objective and sustained growth of hate crime conducts”, he said.
The first semester of 2021 has confirmed this increase, with 610 new registered cases.
Despite the general fall of cases in 2020, some categories experienced a growth compared to 2019.
People with disabilities suffered a 69% increase of hate crimes from one year to other – from, 26 cases in 2019 to 44 in 2020.
The cases of discrimination because of illness also grew, from 8 in 2019 to 13. Discrimination because of gender (43.5% increase) and generational discrimination (11.1% increase) were also on the rise.
Meanwhile, the hate crime cases against Roma people (in Spanish, gitanos) almost doubled in 2020, to 22 cases.
The minister argued that hate speech fuels violence, and called to stop aggressive narratives.
The hate crimes motivated by the victim’s religion were one of the three categories that experienced a greatest fall in 2020. Only crimes related to political ideology and anti-semitism experienced a better improvement in Spain.
In 2020, there were 45 religious hate crimes - a decrease of 31.8% compared to 2019.
According to the data of the government, racism and xenophobia continues to be the main cause for hate crimes in Spain, representing 34.6% of all cases. In 2020, 485 racist or xenophobic hate crimes were registered.