Spain criticised by Amnesty International

Amnesty Internacional (AI) has accused the Spanish governnment of not giving enough protection to victims of gender violence and for its treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers.

These criticisms are included in AI’s annual report on the state of human rights throughout the world due to be presented today in London. The report is based on information dating back to 2009.

The report says that the ‘victims of gender violence are still without suitable protection or assistance from the state’. It goes on to say that ‘despite advances over recent years women carry on dying at the hands of their partner or expartner’.

AI also points out that this problem also affects female immigrants living in Spain too and emphasised that ‘female immigrants who suffered violence at home faced additional difficulties when trying to obtain justice or access to specialised services’. In the words of AI ‘institutional answers to the problem of gender violence or sexual exploitation continued to be insufficient in Spain’.

In its report AI has also focussed attention on the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers living in Spain. According to the organization immigrants and asylum seekers still risked their lives to get to Spain although the number arriving by boat has gone down by 45% compared to the previous year. Nevertheless according to AI Spain still has one of the ‘lowest levels of recognising the right to asylum compared to the rest of the EU despite recent reforms to its asylum laws’.

AI also condemned reports of police being given monthly quotos regarding the number of arrests of illegal immigrants despite the denial of the Spanish Home Office regarding such a policy. AI referred to reports from national organizations that indicated that police identity checks were ‘racially motivated’ and formed part of the measures introduced in order to control immigration.

AI also mentioned violence committed by armed groups in Spain and mentioned the Basque separatist terrorist group ETA in its report.

The Spanish government was also criticised for the lack of advancement in its investigations into crimes committed during the Spanish civil war (1936-1939) and during the years of the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975).

Finally, AI also condemned continued reports of torture and the maltreatment of police detanees and highlighted that these have gone down in police stations where closed circuit television has been installed. Nevertheless AI pointed out that the Spanish authorities carried on keeping detanees in solitary confinement despite the repeated calls by international organizations for this practice to be abolished.