RIS Reports on Where Spain Is Failing to Protect Civil and Political Rights

Rights International Spain has submitted a number of contributions to the list of issues to consider before the submission of the Seventh Regular Report to the Human Rights Committee.

RIS has published a report explaining the gaps in the protection of civil and political rights in Spain.

These are issues of vital importance but, paradoxically, are always postponed or relegated. And now that we are in the run-up to a new general election, the next government should place them among its priorities. For the time being, none of the candidates have even mentioned any of these matters, either in their campaigns or during electoral debates.

As a general issue, the state must adopt the necessary measures for the effective compliance with the expert opinions issued by the UN Committees, as well as the need to approve the second Action Plan on Human Rights.

These gaps include the following:

Non-discrimination and equality

Stop forms should be introduced by all police forces as an effective tool to end the use of racial and ethnic profiling. The proper functioning of the Council for the Elimination of Racial or Ethnic Discrimination should also be ensured by adopting measures to guarantee its independence, providing it with sufficient resources and powers in order to investigate, sanction and prosecute specific cases of ethnic discrimination.

Preventing torture

Fair and effective reparation for victims of torture and other ill-treatment has still not been ensured. This includes, among other things, the end of government pardons for officers convicted of torture and other ill-treatment, effective and prompt investigations, prosecution and punishment, and the proper identification of police officers. In addition, the incommunicado detention regime should be abolished and measures should be taken to abolish the preventive detention of migrants in detention centres for foreigners (CIE).

Historical memory

Consideration should be given to the non-application of the Amnesty Law and to ensuring the non-applicability of statutory limitations to international crimes, so as not to hinder judicial investigations. The state must also assume the exhumation of graves and the effective reparation of victims of grave human rights violations in the past.

Access to justice

It is essential to provide resources to the judicial system, to take measures to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and to achieve an effective reorganisation and modernisation of the justice system. The state should also restore the principle of Universal Justice for grave international crimes according to Spanish law.

Freedom of expression and assembly

The Citizen Security Act and the Criminal Code should be reformed with a view to protecting and duly guaranteeing the exercise of freedom of expression and assembly.

Terrorism and human rights

The Spanish state has not taken any steps to bring its legislation on terrorist offences into line with human rights standards.

Civil society space

Spain has an obligation to protect human rights defenders and not restrict the work of civil society organizations.

These are only some of the contributions of Rights International Spain to the Human Rights Committee for the list of issues to consider before the submission of the Seventh Regular Report. They are some of the many gaps in the protection of the civil rights and freedoms that Spain has the obligation to safeguard. We invite you to read the full report here.