SPAIN'S aspiring socialist government says if it gets into power, it will immediately pass legislation outlawing 'hate speech', including anti-foreigner and anti-Islam comments in public either verbally or online.
This would include compulsory teaching about non-discrimination in schools so as to drive the message home from a very young age that racism and incitement to hatred is not socially or legally acceptable.
These measures were announced by the PSOE's spokeswoman for equality, Susana Sumelzo, in a Lower Chamber meeting attended by the Federal Afro-Socialist coordinator Consuelo Cruz and around 30 racial integration associations.
Sra Cruz, spokeswoman for groups of African immigrants and Spanish citizens of African descent, recalled that 80% of hate crimes were against 'the visibly foreign', or those with darker skin.
And Sra Sumelzo pointed out that Article 9.2 of the Spanish Constitution guarantees 'equal human dignity for all persons'.
She says the Law of Equal Treatment needs to be updated and 'the opportune legislative reforms promoted' to render 'organisations' which 'systematically violate fundamental rights and freedoms' illegal.
This could extend to online and physical far-right groups based in Spain, and could lead to criminal action taken against individuals or institutions which make inflammatory comments.
Anti-Jihad prosecutor Dolores Delgado, an expert on law and criminal judgment relating to so-called 'Islamic' terrorism, says the low incidence of racism and high levels of acceptance and integration in Spain are part of the reason why it has not suffered to the extent of France or Belgium.
She says that whilst France and Belgium have always had trouble tackling divisions in society, largely thanks to an historic lack of proper integration policies leading to ghettos plagued with poverty and crime in their city suburbs, this has never been the case in Spain where all races and religions are close to the community and local authorities are concerned to offer them the services and facilities they need where these may be different from those of people born in the country.
The relatively limited extent of racism, fascism or far-right sentiments among Spanish society has acted as a protection.
And the new measures proposed by the socialists, to outlaw hate speech, will help reinforce this as it will make individuals and institutions think twice about propagating fascist views.
Sra Sumelzo said any future legislation her party brought in if it came into power would also target 'romophobia' – negative discrimination against Roma gypsies – and gitanophobia, or hate speech and hate crimes against the Spanish gypsy population.
The photo shows the PSOE Federal Committee in the meeting.