Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 16:28 GMT

Amnesty International Report 2016/17 - Portugal

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 22 February 2017
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2016/17 - Portugal, 22 February 2017, available at: [accessed 16 December 2017]
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.

Portuguese Republic
Head of state: Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (replaced Aníbal António Cavaco Silva in March)
Head of government: António Costa

Austerity measures restricted the rights of people with disabilities. There were reports of ill-treatment in prisons and of inadequate prison conditions. Discrimination against Roma continued unabated.


Portugal continued to fail to ensure that hate crimes were prohibited in law, and had not created a national data collection system for hate crimes.

People with disabilities

In April, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities asked Portugal to review austerity measures that have reduced the availability of services for people with disabilities and forced many of them into poverty or extreme poverty. The Committee expressed concern about cuts to resources for inclusive education for children with disabilities and support for their families. These measures had particularly negative effects on women caregivers who in most cases cared for children with disabilities.


In June, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance reported that Portugal had not fully implemented the measures it had recommended in 2013 to address racism and discrimination towards Roma communities, especially regarding data collection and the simplification of procedures to report cases of discrimination to the High Commissioner for Migration.


In June, the Portuguese Observatory on the Health System reported continuing inequalities in accessing health care, in particular for the most marginalized people.


There were reports of unnecessary or excessive use of force by law enforcement officials throughout the year.

In October, according to a report by a Portuguese NGO, 13 prisoners were beaten by prison guards during the inspection of their cells at Carregueira Prison in the capital Lisbon. At least three of them required hospital treatment as a result.


Prison conditions remained inadequate; in some prisons they were degrading. There was a lack of hygiene, food quality, medical care and access to medicines.


In February, Parliament voted to override a presidential veto of a law granting same-sex couples the right to adopt children. The law was initially passed in November 2015; the new law entered into force in March.


Thirty-nine refugees previously selected for resettlement in Portugal between 2014 and 2016 had arrived in the country by the end of 2015. The government committed to resettle over 260 refugees in 2016/2017.

Only 781 asylum-seekers were transferred from Greece and Italy to Portugal under the EU relocation mechanism as of the end of the year, out of the 1,742 that Portugal had committed to receive.

In October, the municipal authorities of Amadora forcibly evicted at least four migrant families without meaningful prior consultation and the provision of adequate alternative accommodation.


In February, the Parliament approved changes to legislation on access to sexual and reproductive health services. The new law removed mandatory psychological and social counselling as a condition for women's access to abortion.

In May, new legislation was adopted giving all women access to assisted reproductive technology (ART) – including in vitro fertilization and other methods – regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation. This put an end to former restrictions that limited ART to married women or women in a civil partnership with a man.


In November, the government announced plans to exempt victims of sexual harassment, rape, female genital mutilation, slavery and human trafficking from the payment of judicial costs.

According to data provided by the NGO UMAR, as of November, 22 women had been killed, and there were 23 attempted murders.

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