There were reports of excessive use of force by police against demonstrators and Roma. Domestic violence remained a serious concern.
A criminal investigation into the use of a Taser against an inmate in Paços de Ferreira prison in 2010 did not progress despite the findings of an inquiry by the Audit and Inspection services of the General Directorate for prisons that two members of the Prison Security Intervention Group had used the weapon disproportionately. The outcome of disciplinary proceedings against the two prison officers remained pending at the end of the year.
In March, police reportedly used excessive force against peaceful demonstrators during anti-austerity protests. On 22 March, two journalists received medical treatment after allegedly being beaten by police at a demonstration in Lisbon.
Domestic violence continued to be a serious concern. The Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV) and the Portuguese Ombudsman reported an increase in complaints by elderly victims of domestic violence. According to APAV, the total number of complaints by victims of domestic violence increased to 16,970 in 2012, compared with 15,724 in 2011. According to the NGO UMAR, deaths resulting from domestic violence were estimated at 36 as of September 2012, compared with 27 for the whole of 2011.Top of page
On 31 October, the UN Human Rights Committee issued its concluding observations on the fourth periodic report on Portugal. Recommendations focused on the rights of people detained in police custody, prison conditions, domestic violence and discrimination against migrants and ethnic minorities, including Roma.
Following his visit to Portugal in May, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concerns over ongoing discrimination against Roma and the impact of the economic crisis and fiscal austerity measures on the rights of children and the elderly.
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