Spain’s economic recession must not lead to human rights crisis

News
March 16, 2012

Spain’s economic recession must not lead to human rights crisis

The Spanish authorities must ensure the country’s economic difficulties do not result in a human rights crisis, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty said as he concluded a high-level mission on Thursday.

Amnesty International has submitted a report to the Spanish government outlining the key human rights challenges that the country faces.

"Reducing public spending should never affect human rights. No matter how bad the situation with public funds, economic measures should not be taken without first assessing their impact on vulnerable people. It is very worrying that some in Spain still don´t have access to health care such as long-term unemployed or migrants" said Shetty.

He added that the Spanish authorities have shown willingness to achieve progress in this area.

“We trust that this will be followed by concrete and timely action,” he said.

He urged the Spanish government to combat discrimination in all its forms, pointing to a practice frequently used by police of selecting people for identity checks based on their ethnic or racial characteristics.

"It is intolerable the police perform identity checks in the street based solely on racial profiling, a practice that is both deeply discriminatory and unlawful, and effectively criminalizes migrants, one of the most vulnerable groups in the country" warned Shetty.

"We welcome the fact that the Secretary of State at the Interior Ministry is considering issuing a written order to prohibit this practice."

Shetty said Spain should not neglect unresolved matters such as incommunicado detention as well as the fight against torture and the need to ensure truth, justice and reparation for victims of human rights abuses.

Shetty also stressed that the Spanish authorities should work harder to protect vulnerable groups from forced evictions.

“At present, many people are being evicted from their homes without adequate alternative accommodation. The government should prohibit forced eviction and protect people, as several UN agencies have already highlighted."