A homeless man was recently beaten, stripped of his ragged clothing and left half dead, stranded by the curb of a road leading into a major European city. It took two passers-by who aloofly averted their gaze before a kind-hearted neighbor happened upon the injured man and helped him.
The Good Samaritan is mere biblical fiction, but anti-homeless advocacies across Europe warn that the violence and indifference the parable instructs against have become routine. Though lacking an international precedent to point to, elevating this genre of violence to the category of hate crimes has long been a priority for these advocacies. Last week, Spain became that precedent — with a tweak. The amendments to the country’s penal code pre-approved on Tuesday and sent to parliament for a vote are meant to address this very pattern of attacks on the un-housed, but to do so, the net is cast on the much wider phenomenon of aporophobia, turning into a hate crime any act stemming from “fear or rejection towards the poor, those who lack means or the helpless”, as the term is defined.
This piece was co-authored with Fundación Civismo’s Juan Ángel Soto. Read it in its entirety at New Europe here.