Complaints against police officers for violation of linguistic rights are not thriving.

Complaints against police officers for violation of linguistic rights are not thriving.

BarcelonaSince 2022, Plataforma per la Léngua has filed eight complaints against National Police and Civil Guard agents for violations of linguistic rights. These claims include various cases in which police officers have refused to provide service to users because they speak Catalan or have asked citizens of Catalan countries to use Spanish. This is the case in Dénia, for example, where Plataforma per la Llengua denounced the behaviour of a National Police officer who refused a DNI procedure to a user who spoke Valencian. In addition, the body filed this complaint with the aforementioned police chief for refusing to open a disciplinary procedure against the officer’s misconduct. A similar case is what happened at Figueres train station last year, when a National Police officer demanded the use of Spanish while asking passengers to provide documents. The Catalan NGO has also filed an administrative complaint for discrimination and harassment against a lawyer from Prat de Llobregat who demanded his right to express himself in Catalan. The police responded by saying that “they are not obliged to understand the Catalan dialect”.

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As the organization emphasizes, none of these eight complaints were successful because there was no evidence of discrimination. No sanctions were implemented against the clients. But the situation goes beyond the lack of convictions: Plataforma per la Léngua points out that “the department in charge of investigating the infringing behavior never opened a file to be able, at least, to clarify the facts that occurred.” In addition, the organization acknowledges that it has “recordings and written evidence that attest to numerous cases of discrimination,” and that “the Spanish State has denied the existence of this violation of rights.”

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“When impunity reigns, people with attitudes against the Catalan language feel empowered and there is a climate of insecurity among citizens who use minority languages,” InformeCat’s technical director, Miquel Gil, highlighted on Wednesday at this year’s data collection presentation. In addition to police officers, Plataforma per la Llengua is taking an X-ray of Catalan in other areas.

Official and recognition

Catalan NGOs insist that three out of ten doctors in Catalonia do not know how to speak Catalan and more than one in ten do not understand it, according to data from the Council of Medical Schools of Catalonia. InformeCat also highlights the first presentation of the Catalan language in the Congress of Deputies since August last year or the 20-point increase in official support for Catalan in the European Union as positive data in the recognition of the language.

justice

Justice remains one of the areas where Catalan suffers the greatest deficit. Plataforma per la Llengua points out that only 10% of the documents of the Barcelona Public Prosecutor’s Office are processed in Catalan. The organization’s president, Óscar Escudér, claims that “justice remains an area where the State consistently fails to comply with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.” In addition, Plataforma’s director, Rut Carandel, adds that “more than 70% of prosecutors do not have a certified knowledge of Catalan.”

Language and identity

Up to eight out of ten Catalan speakers believe that to be Catalan, it is very important to know how to speak Catalan. According to theSurvey on values ​​in Catalonia For the year 2023, carried out by the Center for Opinion Studies and collected in this year’s InformeCat, 95% of Catalan speakers see identity and language as linked.

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Companies

The business sector is also affected by linguistic issues. One in three Catalan speakers say they have problems expressing themselves in Catalan in Catalan restaurants. On the other hand, a survey by Generalitat and Pimec showed that only 22.8% of companies provide facilities for their employees to learn or improve Catalan.

culture

Culture is one of the sectors with the most positive data on the linguistic situation. The website Plataforma per la Llengua points out that the Catalan group The Tyets has managed to surpass one million listeners on Spotify: this is the first time that a musical group in the Catalan language has reached this milestone. Regarding the media, Escudero stressed that “the premiere of 3Cat was a good promotion of the Catalan language and culture” and referred to the “good numbers” recorded by the platform.

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