Puerto Rico
Head of state
Barack H. Obama
Head of government
Luis Fortuño
Death penalty
abolitionist for all crimes
4 million
Life expectancy
79 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f)
9/8 per 1,000

There were reports of police ill-treatment of students during a demonstration. The living conditions of residents of an informal settlement under a government eviction order remained a concern.

Excessive use of force

In May, during a two-month strike by university students in San Juan, a number of incidents of excessive use of force by officers from the Puerto Rican Police Department were reported.

These incidents included the indiscriminate use of batons and pepper-spray against non-violent protesters during a demonstration by striking students at the Sheraton Hotel on 20 May. Video footage showed police officers shocking a student with a Taser during the demonstration while he was being restrained on the ground by three officers.

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Right to adequate housing

In November, the community of Villas de Sol in Toa Baja signed an agreement to form a co-operative on land given to them by the municipality of Toa Baja in exchange for a parcel of land donated to the residents by Doctor Eduardo Ibarra, President of the College of Surgeons. However, at the end of the year the community remained under a government eviction order, which was extended to 31 December 2010, and without permanent access to water and electrical supplies. Amnesty International called on the federal authorities to extend the eviction deadline to 2011 to allow the community sufficient time to build adequate alternative housing on the new land, as well as to allow municipal authorities to ensure adequate housing services, including water, sanitation and electricity were available at the new site.

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Human rights by region

World regions Midde East and North Africa Asia Pacific Europe and Central Asia Africa Americas


A number of countries in Africa celebrated the 50th anniversary of their independence during the year while others prep ...


In the Americas many human rights have been recognized in law, if not always in practice, over the past 50 years. Whi ...

Asia Pacific

In a region with almost two thirds of the world’s population, stretching a third of the way around the planet, ...

Europe & Central Asia

The right to truth and justice, and the determination of victims and their relatives to achieve this how ...

Middle East and North Africa

2010 dawned with Yemen an unusual focus of international attention following an alleged terrorist ...

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