Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 September 2014, 09:44 GMT

Amnesty International Annual Report 2011 - Portugal

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 13 May 2011
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Annual Report 2011 - Portugal, 13 May 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4dce154628.html [accessed 23 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Head of state: Aníbal António Cavaco Silva
Head of government: José Sócrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa
Death penalty: abolitionist for all crimes
Population: 10.7 million
Life expectancy: 79.1 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f): 6/5 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 94.6 per cent

There were continued failures to ensure prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into reports of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials. Reports of domestic violence decreased slightly. Roma families living in Beja did not have access to adequate housing.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Following the adoption of the report by the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Portugal made a commitment to increase efforts to ensure prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into allegations of ill-treatment or excessive use of force by law enforcement officials. In at least two cases, there was little or no progress in investigations into such allegations, several years after their occurrence.

  • Leonor Cipriano's appeal against the ruling by the Criminal Court of Faro to acquit the three police officers involved in her detention in 2004 was still pending. The Court had found on 22 May 2009 that she had been tortured in police custody, but claimed it was not able to identify those responsible.

  • Hearings in the trial of three judicial police officers accused of torturing Virgolino Borges in police custody in March 2000 were scheduled but then postponed until the end of the year. The investigation had been closed in 2005 by the Criminal Investigating Court on the grounds that the injuries could have been self-inflicted. Virgolino Borges challenged this decision and in November 2005 the Appeals Court (Tribunal da Relação) ordered the case to go to court.

Violence against women and girls

New regulations to protect women from domestic violence were adopted in April, including provisions recognizing the right of victims to receive information, protection, shelter and financial and other assistance. The number of reports of domestic violence decreased slightly in comparison to 2009; the NGO Association for Victim Support registered 15,236 complaints of domestic violence in 2010 compared with 15,904 in 2009. However, the NGO União de Mulheres Alternativa e Resposta registered 43 murders in 2010, compared with 29 in 2009.

Right to adequate housing – Roma

  • Around 50 Roma families continued to live in the Quinta das Pedreiras neighbourhood in the town of Beja, where they were resettled in 2006 following their eviction from the neighbourhood of Bairro da Esperança. There were continued concerns that the houses in Quinta das Pedreiras did not meet minimum standards of health, sanitation and security. On 29 April, the European Roma Rights Centre filed a complaint with the European Committee for Social Rights, claiming that Portugal had violated the right to housing of the Roma living in Quinta das Pedreiras.

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