Desde Londres nos llegan noticias de la labor informativa realizada para dar a conocer a los clientes de Triodos Bank en ese país la realidad de las inversiones del banco en centros de menores de la Fundación Internacional O´Belén. Según nos cuentan, la carta fue repartida en un "meeting" del banco en Londres, entregada en mano al interesado y leída ante un auditorio de unas 400 personas. Parece que la presión para que Triodos deje de invertir en el negocio del maltrato se internacionaliza...
Aquí el texto de la carta distribuida que nos ha llegado en formato PDF:
TRIODOS BANK: A NON-ETHICAL BANK FOR CHILDHOOD?Letter to Charles Middleton, Triodos Bank’s UK managing director
London, 29th March 2012 Mr Charles Middleton,
In this letter we want to bring up an extremely serious problem that is taking place in Spain. There, thousands of children, most of them with social and family problems, are committed in “minor-centres”, where they are supposed to be sheltered and reeducated. But the reality is quite different.
In this kind of “prisons for children” (indeed, the architecture and the runnings are quite similar), minors are being imprisoned, suffering severe physical punishment, being forced to take drugs and sedative medicines, and immigrant children are not allowed to talk in their mother tongue. Some of them have even been tied to a chair for three days. Acctually, they are being litterally tortured, as an ex-social-worker, who was not able to work there for more than 4 days, said: “When people talk about ’torture’, everybody thinks that it only happens in foreing countries, far from here. But what I’ve seen inside the ’minor-centre’ is torture.”
Lots of those children that are imprisoned kill themselves, or die in strange circumstances, like Philippe, 17, who was found dead with a plastic bag covering his head in 2009, just a week after claiming for shelter. He had been in six different centres, and sadly died in one of them. As Philippe, a lot of those children and youngs are undergoing hidings and isolation in these sites, that sometimes causes children to commit suicides.
In early nineties, these minor-centres were privatized, and different institutions started to manage them. One of these institutions is O`Belen Foundation, the one that had received the biggest ammount of children mistreatment accusations. Under O’Belen management, at least 3 children have killed themselves in the last four years. David, 12, was found dead with the rope of a bind around his neck. Hamid, 13, also committed suicide. Saray, 14, sprang out of the car that was carrying her back to the minor-centre after some days off, at 120 km/h. Minors are usually beaten inside, and forced to take drugs.
Abuse, isolation, tortures, forced medication, suicides... this stuff was brought to light as a public scandal in 2009 when both the “Defensor del Pueblo” and “International Amnesty” published reports about this question. O’Belen Foundation was many times accused for this ill-threatments. Javier San Sebastian, O’Belen’s president, dared to say that “International Amnesty is such a discreditable institution that it’s not worth to bear in mind”. But just reading the title of its report, taken from a letter of one of the children, is horrifying: “Si vuelvo, me mato” (“If I come back, I’ll kill myself”).
Although O’Belen introduces itself as a non-lucrative institution, it is said that they manage millions of euros, according to a report in an spanish magazine. But the point is that this institution, founded by people who belonged to Partido Popular, the most famous spanish right-wing party (like Emilio Pinto o Manuel Pizarro), has at least a deposit of 441.320 euros in Triodos Bank. But this is only the proven ammount. It could be even much more... Perhaps, you, Charles, can update this information.
Since years ago, some people in Spain demanded Triodos Bank to cut its dealing with this despicable and inmoral institution. But the bank has refused, and a boycott of Triodos was launched, in order to lead them to cut the deal with O’Belen. It is just a question of respect for minors’ dignity . But Triodos is still finnancing O’Belen, as we can see in the spanish Triodo’s Bank website, where that it is proudly announced. Last December, there was a meeting that gathered some Triodos’ Bank clients, and they demanded it again, without any consequence.
So, having said that, we want to ask you to cut you deals with O’Belen again, Mrs Middleton, in the name of children and minors who are suffering this ill-threatment in those centres, indeed, in those prisons for children. Otherwise, your image of ethicity and honesty will collapse down, and your institution will be uncovered as an example of hipocrisy, cynism and disonestity, not so different from any other bank. But this time it will be in an international way. We are going to carry on explainning this everywhere, untill you cut with O’Belen.