AMNESTY International has
condemned the 'unnecessary violence' used by riot police during
public demonstrations in Spain and the 'lack of guarantees' for
people whose homes have been repossessed.
In its annual report, AI
listed six areas where it considered Spain needed to improve its
human rights policies.
Other entries included
anti-terrorism measures, racism and domestic violence, but
particularly emphasised repossession of homes and 'aggressiveness' by
police in protest marches as being two areas directly caused by the
The report mentioned two
cases in point concerning the latter – the death of Ángela
Jaramillo from a heart attack three months after being repeatedly
beaten with truncheons by police officers when taking part in a
peaceful demonstration, the after-effects of which required medical
treatment; and reporter Paloma Aznar, who suffered a serious eye
injury after being hit by a rubber bullet fired at her, despite
wearing her press identification in a prominent place about her
referred more generically to riot police hitting, firing rubber
bullets at and threatening participants and reporters in a peaceful
demonstration in Madrid on September 25.
They added that
investigations were usually 'impossible' because victims were unable
to identify the officers who had attacked them by their numbers, and
because they did not have evidence to prove their injuries were
inflicted by the police.
According to AI, this
means the victims of excessive police violence are 'defenceless' at
law, and that authorities did not carry out 'full, structured and
systematic' inquiries into such cases.
Its report also condemned
'forced evictions', both of mortgage defaulters and people living in
poverty in shanty towns, which are 'a long way from complying with
international legal guarantees' stipulated by legislative reforms
passed to deal with the effects of the global recession.
Spain was 'not evaluating
or dealing with the repercussions' affecting the human rights of
'vulnerable sectors of the population', or offering the legal
guarantees of prior consultation and negotiation, compensation in the
case of people evicted from shanty towns, and suitable alternative
accommodation for all those left homeless.
Amnesty International says
Spain has made no further efforts in the last two years to address
this issue, despite the organisation having warned the government in
2011 that hundreds of thousands of residents were at risk of losing
their homes and that nine million people were living in actual
poverty with no legal support.
Among other issues, AI
slammed the fact that victims of domestic violence do not have access
to 'effective remedies' and 'face obstacles' when seeking help, and
that foreigners without a residence card or not paying social
security were unable to obtain medical treatment via the public
health service without paying.
“This is not a cutback,
it is a violation of human rights,” says Amnesty International.
“For governments in the
European Union, it is more important to them to protect borders than
to protect life and health.”