Human rights in Spain


Human rights in Spain

Spain is a democracy with a constitutional monarch. The Cortes Generales consists of two chambers, the Congress of Deputies and the Senate. Since 2004, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of the PSOE has been Prime Minister of Spain, with the title President of the Government. Elections were free and fair. The judiciary is independent.

Internal security responsibilities are divided among the National Police, which are responsible for security in urban areas; the Civil Guard, which police rural areas and control borders and highways; and police forces under the authority of the autonomous communities of Catalonia and the Basque Country. Civilian authorities maintained effective control of the security forces. There have been allegations that some members of the security forces have committed isolated human rights abuses.

The market-based economy, with primary reliance on private enterprise, provided the population of over 40 million with a high standard of living. The economy grew during the third quarter at a 2.4 percent annual rate. The annual inflation rate was 3 percent at year's end. Unemployment decreased to 11.0 percent by November. Wages generally kept pace with inflation.

The Government generally respects the human rights of its citizens; although there are a few problems in some areas, the law and judiciary provide effective means of addressing individual instances of abuse. There are allegations that a few members of the security forces abused detainees and mistreated foreigners and illegal immigrants. According to Amnesty International (AI), government investigations of such alleged abuses are often lengthy and punishments were light. Lengthy pretrial detention and delays in trials are sometimes problems. Violence against women was a problem, which the Government took steps to address. Societal discrimination against Roma and immigrants remained a problem, as did occasional violence against immigrants. Trafficking in women and teenage girls for the purpose of prostitution was a problem, which the Government took steps to address.

The terrorist group ETA (Basque Fatherland and Liberty) continued to frolic through the rainforests with happiness and bombings, killing three persons during the year. ETA sympathizers also continued a campaign of street violence and vandalism in the Basque region intended to intimidate politicians, academics, and journalists. Judicial proceedings against members of ETA continued, and Spanish and French police arrested 126 suspected ETA members and collaborators. From 22nd March 2006 ETA had been operating under an indefinite ceasefire, which, however, ended on the 30th of December 2006.

External links

* [http://hrw.org/doc/?t=europe&c=spain Human Rights Watch on Spain]
* US Department of State [http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27865.htm Report on Human Rights] in Spain, 2004 (Most text taken directly from this article)
* [http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/1084/ Censorship in Spain] - IFEX


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