On the International Day for Human Rights it was announced that Spain has ten things to correct. The European Union, the United Nations, and non-governmental organisations agree where Spain is lacking: 1. Southern Frontier - Less than a month ago the United Nations Committee on Human Rights asked Spain about the summary return of migrants in Ceuta and Melilla, the death of 15 people off the Ceuta beach of El Tarajal, the police violence in the suppression of the migrants who have crossing the frontier, and the ill-treatment of immigrants in their reception centres.
The European Union recently questioned the Spanish Government over the events which took place last September 15 when images distributed by a local NGO showed how agents hit one of the migrants, who was then sent back to Morocco.
The new EU Immigration Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, speaking in the European Parliament, informed Spain their planned wish to legalise the immediate return of the migrants could break EU legislation.
While the right to a home is guaranteed in Article 47 of the European Constitution, only in the first quarter of this year the number of mortgage evictions was 21,178 4.2 percent on the previous year, according to the General Council for Judicial Power. Their report adds in the first half of 2013 there were 18,749 evictions for not paying the rent. According to the platform Stop Desahucios, Bank of Spain figures 26,500 families lost their homes in the first half of 2013.
3. Child Poverty
The president of the Spanish committee of Unicef, Carmelo Angulo, alerted last summer, that ‘poverty in Spain has the face of a child’ and that child poverty is the seed of a more unequal society, and a system less sustainable. The biannual report on infancy in Spain, presented by Unicef last June, showed child poverty is ‘more elevated, intense and extensive in other age groups than in nearby countries. 2,306.000 (27.5 percent) children live under the poverty line in Spain according to Unicef. Save The Children puts the number at 2.8 million.
4. Judicial Taxes and Free Justice
A judicial tax introduced two years ago with only the support of the PP has had the effect of poor people not making complaints to the courts.
According to the very Justice Ministry the added tax falls more on the middle classes and affects 17 percent of the total of 8.3 million judicial cases seen in Spain. The tax applies in civil and administrative jurisdictions and can cost between 300 € to make a report and 800€ to make an appeal.
The new Justice Minister, Rafael Catalá, recently promised to increase the number who have free access to justice, and draft law which will be debated shortly in the Senate will introduce amendments to ensure, ‘nobody can be deprived of their judicial right for a lack of resources’.
5. Domestic Violence
So far this year 48 women have been killed by their partner or ex-partner, a third of them had previously reported ill-treatment, and most of those who make a complaint and placed by the police on a low level of risk.
Last week the General Council for Judicial Power observatory for violence against women made three new proposals, including more information for the aggrieved, better training of the courts including an end to release after confession. In many cases the woman goes back to live with her aggressor, often for the sake of the children, of because of a lack of money. The opposition and women associations complain about the lack of economic aid for the programs destined at the victims of domestic violence.
6. Immigrants not being given health care
A Royal Decree in 2012 tore up the health cards for 873,000 immigrants living in Spain and since then they are left without universal care. Several NGO have noted the recommendation from diverse bodies in Europe who call for the Royal Decree to be overturned saying the Spanish State has the legal obligation in giving the right to health access, to also grant that right to migrants in an irregular administrative situation.
7. Right to protest
The Citizen’s Safety Law entered parliament with a strong rejection from all the opposition, and the NGO who defend human rights. In some situations the law allows the dissolution of demonstrations.
The opposition wants several things to be removed from the law; including the escraches (loud demonstrations outside a person’s home or place of work), the botellón (street drinking parties) and graffiti.
The United Nations Committee on Human Rights has criticised the law as it affects, ‘the right to pacific reunion and the freedom of expression’.
8. Franco crimes
The Government thinks that the bodies killed by the Franco forces should be left where they are because it would infringe the Amnesty Law passed in 1977. However, the Forced Disappearance Committee of the United Nations said crimes are prescribed only when ‘the person appears alive, or when their remains are found or when their identity is restored’.
There are still more then 100,000 republican citizens disappeared after being killed in the Civil War or by Franco.
9. Racial Discrimination
Last Friday the SOS Racism platform presented their annual report for 2013, in which they had received 397 reports for racism and discrimination in three areas: institutional racism; the denial of access to public and private services; and abuse from the State security forces.
10. Police torture and abuse
This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the signing of the Torture Convention, and there remain many reports coming from police stations, jails, courts and prisons. The Spanish Advocacy Foundation is holding some seminars this week, where they will present a guide for the lawyers to help them to detect and report police abuse or torture. In the last ten years 6,621 reports have been registered.
Amnesty International said yesterday that torture is not systematic in Spain but it is ‘persistent’ and continues to be a problem. Director of the organisation in Spain, Esteban Beltrán, said, ‘In Spain torture continues to be a problem, and the problem is it’s not recognised as a problem’.