Allegations of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials persisted, and investigations into such allegations continued to be inadequate. Spain refused to abolish incommunicado detention despite repeated recommendations by international human rights bodies. A man suspected of terrorism was extradited to Morocco despite risks of torture and unfair trial. The armed group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) announced a ceasefire. Former detainees from Guantánamo Bay were granted international protection. Reports of violence against women and girls increased. An investigating judge was suspended for launching an investigation into international crimes committed during the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime.
Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement officials continued. No measures were taken to compile and publish data on cases which may have involved violations of the human rights of people in police custody, as provided by the Human Rights Action Plan adopted by the government in 2008.
In June, the reform of the criminal code did not amend the definition of torture, despite recommendations by the UN Committee against Torture to bring it in line with international human rights standards. The criminal code continued to distinguish between “serious” infringements of the article prohibiting torture and infringements “which are not”.
The authorities continued to hold in incommunicado detention people suspected of terrorism-related activities. People can be held for up to 13 days during which time they cannot appoint their own lawyer or consult their duty lawyer in private, do not have access to a doctor of their own choice and cannot let their family know of their whereabouts. In May, the government rejected recommendations from the UN Universal Periodic Review to abolish this form of detention.
In March, a French police officer was killed by members of the armed group ETA in a shoot-out in Dammarie-lès-Lys, near Paris. On 5 September, ETA announced that it would not carry out any “offensive armed actions”.Top of page
According to the Ministry of the Interior, 3,632 irregular migrants arrived on Spanish coasts, which was 50 per cent less than in 2009 and the lowest number for the decade. The decrease was due in part to the continued policies of interception of migrants and asylum-seekers at sea, and readmission agreements signed with countries of origin and transit.
In September, the government rejected the recommendation by the Universal Periodic Review working group to sign and ratify the UN Migrant Workers Convention.
In February, the then Foreign Minister confirmed that Spain was willing to provide five former detainees from Guantánamo with international protection. The announcement was followed by the arrival of a Palestinian man on 24 February, a Yemeni man on 4 May and an Afghan man on 21 July, all of whom had been held in US custody at Guantánamo Bay.
In June, the government amended the definition of human trafficking in the criminal code and brought it into line with the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. However, there were concerns that the right to a recovery and reflection period for foreign nationals in an irregular situation who are believed to be victims of human trafficking was not always respected in practice. Such a period is enshrined in the Law on Foreign Nationals for a minimum of 30 days during which expulsion proceedings should be suspended. At the end of the year no measures had been taken to instruct the relevant authorities on how to identify victims of trafficking according to the law.
Allegations of corporal punishment, isolation, abusive prescription of drugs and inadequate health care in centres for minors with behavioural or social problems persisted. In September, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern that those centres might constitute a form of deprivation of liberty. The Committee recommended that Spain should ensure that legislation and administrative regulations in all autonomous communities conform fully to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.Top of page
According to the Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality, the number of women killed at the hands of their partners or former partners increased to 73, of whom 27 were migrant women.
Migrant women in an irregular situation who were victims of domestic or gender-based violence continued to fear registering a complaint with the police due to the risk of expulsion following such a complaint. An amendment to the Law on Foreign Nationals in December 2009 included expulsion proceedings to be initiated when migrant women in an irregular situation register a complaint of gender-based violence.
Victims of gender-based violence also continued to encounter many obstacles to fair and timely reparation.
The authorities failed to take steps to combat discrimination against foreign nationals and to support freedom of expression and religion.
Although amendments were made to the criminal code in June, the government failed to introduce a definition of crimes under international law such as enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions.
In September and November, the National Criminal Court closed investigations into crimes committed in Myanmar and Tibet. The decisions were taken following the limitation of universal jurisdiction by an amendment to the Law on the Judiciary in October 2009. Since the amendment, domestic courts were no longer able to prosecute cases unless the victims were Spanish citizens, the alleged perpetrator was in Spain, or there was another “relevant connecting link” with Spain and only if there was no effective investigation or prosecution already in another country or international court.