Widespread protests against austerity measures began in May, with occupations of squares in several cities. There were credible reports of excessive use of force by police in dispersal operations in Madrid and elsewhere between May and August. Accusations of excessive force also marred a protest against the Pope's visit to Madrid in mid-August.

New immigration regulations in June ensured that undocumented migrant women who report domestic violence do not risk immediate expulsion. The rules make it easier for parents of children with Spanish citizenship to obtain residency permits, facilitate residency for unaccompanied migrant children at 18-years-old, and create a presumption in age-dispute cases that the individual is a child. The Ombuds Institute nonetheless criticized age-determination practices in September and recommended procedural reforms.

In February ECRI expressed continuing concerns about insufficient application of criminal provisions to combat racially motivated crimes, inadequate data collection on racism and discrimination, and ethnic profiling of migrants by police. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) echoed these concerns in April. A comprehensive government-proposed non-discrimination bill was before parliament at this writing.

In March the CPT repeated its call for reform of incommunicado detention for suspects of serious crimes such as terrorism, including access to a lawyer from the outset of detention and the right to examination by a doctor of choice. In July the Ombuds Institute also recommended improving safeguards in incommunicado detention.

Spain extradited Belgian-Moroccan citizen Ali Aarrass to Morocco in December 2010 to face terrorism charges, despite a binding order from the CAT in November to suspend extradition while it examined the case.

In October 2011 the violent Basque separatist group ETA announced it would give up its 43-year armed struggle.

This 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.