Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

World Report 2013 - European Union: Spain

Publisher Human Rights Watch
Publication Date 31 January 2013
Cite as Human Rights Watch, World Report 2013 - European Union: Spain, 31 January 2013, available at: [accessed 21 January 2018]
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.

Demonstrations continued throughout 2012 as the government imposed austerity measures amid a deepening economic crisis, and protester and police violence that included use of rubber bullets. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) expressed concern in June that austerity measures disproportionately affect vulnerable groups, highlighting forced evictions without due safeguards, curtailed access to health services for undocumented migrants, and deep cuts in education budgets.

In July, the ECtHR found that Spain had violated anti-torture and non-discrimination obligations by failing to investigate allegations that in 2005, police conducted a racially abusive identity check on an African woman who was a legal resident. In a separate ruling the same month, the court found that retroactive lengthening of prison sentences, limiting eligibility for parole for people convicted of terrorism offenses, violated fair trial standards. The ECtHR agreed in November to hear the Spanish government's appeal against the ruling.

In April, Frontex attributed continued low levels of boat migration to Spain to sea patrols and the country's migration cooperation with African countries. Spain forcibly removed to Morocco around 70 sub-Saharan Africans from a nearby Spanish island in September, despite media and NGO reports of migrant ill-treatment in Morocco and dumping at the Algerian border. Two women and eight children were transported to Spanish mainland. In February, CAT published its decision against Spain for failing to investigate the responsibility of a Spanish coast guard unit in the 2007 drowning of a Senegalese man off Ceuta, the Spanish enclave in Morocco.

In February, the Spanish Supreme Court acquitted Judge Baltasar Garzón of abusing his judicial powers by investigating enforced disappearances during the Franco era between 1939 and 1975, despite Spain's amnesty law. Earlier that month, the same court convicted Garzón of ordering unlawful wiretaps in a corruption case and suspended him from the bench for 11 years.

In September, parliament rejected an opposition bill initiated under the previous government to improve Spain's anti-discrimination legislation. In November, the Constitutional Court upheld Spain's law on marriage equality. The justice minister announced his intention in July to limit access to abortion laws, but at this writing no draft legislation had been tabled.

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