Pablo Iglesias, one of the deputy prime ministers in the new coalition government in Spain, announced on Monday that the first legislative measure that will come from the Social Rights Ministry that he heads up will be a law protecting children from violence. The new legislation, Iglesias said, will be known as the “Rhodes Law,” in recognition of campaigning by British concert pianist James Rhodes in defense of children’s rights.
During an interview on Spanish TV channel La Sexta on Monday, Iglesias explained that the government has been working with Rhodes – who is a resident of Madrid – after the pianist and media personality became a public face of organizations who are working for the rights of children and want a law to combat violence suffered by youngsters and adolescents.
For Iglesias, Rhodes – who suffered sexual abuse when he was a boy – “has brought valuable content to the law and could be an ambassador in the fight for the defense of rights during childhood the world over [...].”
The leader of left-wing Unidas Podemos – whose group entered into a coalition government led by the Socialist Party (PSOE) earlier this year – explained that the Rhodes Law should not just protect “the boys and girls in this country, but should also be a global point of reference for the protection of childhood and adolescence and should become one of the elements that defines the actions of this government.”
The politician added that he hoped that the opposition Popular Party (PP) and Ciudadanos (Citizens) would lend their support in Congress to the law, which will protect children “independently of where they were born and the postcode where they live.”
Writing on Twitter, James Rhodes said today that he wanted to take advantage of the interest sparked in the issue by Iglesias’s interview on Monday, to remind people about the urgency of the law’s approval. “I am aware that ‘Rhodes Law’ is trending [on Twitter],” he wrote. “Please, let us remember what the law is about, how urgent it is and the shameful situation of the boys and girls who were raped in Mallorca. There is a lot of work to do.” The pianist and writer was referring in his tweet to a recent case of children who were found to have been abused while in the care of the local authorities on the Balearic island.
English version by Simon Hunter.