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We uncover a new case of language discrimination during the State of Alarm in Manresa

A resident claims the Civil Guard reported him for exercising his rights as a citizen and speaking to them in Catalan. The NGO will report the case to the Spanish Government Office in Catalonia and to Manresa Town Council.

Legal reasons

The officers' behaviour is a serious violation of the terms of article 7 of the Civil Guard disciplinary code, which considers discrimination or harassment due to language or any other personal or social circumstance to be a serious offence. The fact that the police did not allow Fius to be dealt with in Catalan, an official language in the territory, is also discriminatory. This behaviour is also a breach of article 54.11 of the Basic Statute of Public Employees, which establishes that public servants "must ensure citizens are dealt with in the language they request, provided it is official in the territory". For this reason, and due to the breach of article 12 of the Language Policy Act, explanations will also be demanded from Manresa Town Council.

So that people know how to behave in these situations, in December Plataforma per la Llengua published the study Comportament lingüístic davant dels cossos policials espanyols (Linguistic Behaviour with the Spanish Police Forces), compiling cases of discrimination and making recommendations for action.

In addition, thanks to the Catalan NGO's reports, another Spanish State force, the National Police, has accepted a commitment to deal with citizens in Valencian, which it is, in fact, obliged to do. If the officer dealing with the matter cannot do this, they must look for another officer who can help the citizen without violating their language rights.

It should be mentioned that the Spanish government has a systematic policy of denying language discrimination reported by Catalan-speakers. It recently did so in a case in which even the police officers eventually admitted the facts in court and had to apologise to the person affected, who had been assisted by Plataforma per la Llengua.

The NGO has also criticised the State for never investigating similar reports from Catalan citizens and other minority groups in Spain. This leads to mistrust of the police forces and judiciary and contributes to generating a climate of intolerance and Catalanophobic hostility together with a proliferation of a discourse of hatred against Catalan among the Spanish police and on social media. The UN's special rapporteur for national minorities also considers that the omission of language from Spanish anti-discrimination regulations is contrary to Spain's obligations under a series of international treaties it has agreed to which consider that this characteristic is fundamental, mentioning language specifically in their list of elements protected from discrimination because otherwise language minorities could have their rights violated.

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