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TITLE:  PORTUGAL HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                           
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


The Republic of Portugal is a parliamentary democracy with a 
President and Legislative Assembly freely elected by secret 
ballot.  Former Prime Minister and Socialist Party head Mario 
Soares was elected Portugal's first civilian president in 60 
years in 1986 and reelected by a wide margin in 1991.  In 
legislative elections in 1991, Prime Minister Cavaco Silva and 
his Social Democratic Party (PSD) were returned to office with 
an increased majority in Parliament.

Internal security is primarily the responsibility of the 
Ministries of Justice and Internal Administration.  Security 
forces are fully controlled by and responsive to the Government.

Portugal has a market-based economy and is a member of the 
European Community.  An increasing proportion of the population 
is employed in services, while employment in the agricultural 
sector continues to decline and employment in the industrial 
sector has been static.

Portuguese citizens enjoy a broad range of civil and other 
human rights.  Civil rights are outlined in the Constitution 
with specific reference to the Universal Declaration of Human 
Rights.  An Ombudsman, chosen by the Assembly of the Republic 
(legislature) to serve a 4-year term, is Portugal's chief civil 
and human rights officer.  Any citizen may apply to the 
Ombudsman for relief.  The Ombudsman receives about 3,000 
complaints annually, most of them concerning cases of alleged 
misadministration by Portugal's cumbersome bureaucracy and 
delays in the judicial process.  A government investigation of 
allegations of police brutality, begun in 1992, continued, in 
1993 with no results announced by year's end.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no known instances of government-sanctioned 
political or other extrajudicial killings.  No killings were 
attributed to domestic terrorist groups.

*A separate report on Macau, a dependency of Portugal off the 
southern coast of China, follows this report.

     b.  Disappearance

Government or police authorities do not abduct, secretly 
arrest, or otherwise illegally detain persons.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

The Constitution forbids torture, inhuman or degrading 
treatment or punishment, and the use of evidence obtained under 
torture in criminal proceedings.  The Ombudsman investigates 
complaints of mistreatment by police and prison authorities.  A 
formal investigation by the Provedor de Justica of allegations 
of police brutality and mistreatment of prisoners, including 
the seven unresolved complaints cited in Amnesty 
International's (AI) Annual Report, began at the end of 1992.  
This investigation continued through 1993, with no announced 
results.  In 1993 Portugal submitted to the Geneva-based 
Committee Against Torture a report on torture and mistreatment 
allegedly inflicted by Portuguese public security forces.  AI, 
an observer at the proceedings in Geneva, criticized this 
report as lacking detailed information and statistics, 
particularly concerning alleged incidents involving public 
security police (PSP).  AI noted also the lack of results from 
the Provedor de Justica's inquiry.  The PSP responded through a 
press release by noting improvements in its selection and 
training processes, internal disciplinary actions taken against 
agents accused of maltreatment of citizens, and the dismissal 
of 64 PSP members between 1991 and 1993 for disciplinary 

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Under Portuguese law, an investigating judge reviews the case 
against a person under arrest to determine whether that person 
should be detained, released on bail, or released outright.  
Persons may not be held for more than 48 hours without 
appearing before an investigating judge.  Investigative 
detention is limited to a maximum of 6 months for each 
suspected crime.  If a formal charge has not been filed within 
that period, the person detained must be released.  In cases 
involving serious crimes, such as murder or armed robbery, or 
in cases involving more than one suspect, investigative 
detention is permitted for up to 2 years and may be extended by 
a judge to 3 years in extraordinary circumstances.  A suspect 
must be brought to trial within 18 months of being formally 
charged if the suspect is held in preventive detention.  If not 
held, there is no specified period within which the suspect 
must be brought to trial.  The justice system has been 
subjected to considerable criticism for a reported backlog of 
half a million cases awaiting trial.  The Government is taking 
no specific actions to eliminate the backlog, which exacerbates 
the problem through further buildup.  Detainees have access to 
lawyers, who are generally effective in protecting their 
clients' rights.  Defendants who cannot afford representation 
have a lawyer appointed for them by the presiding judge, who 
chooses from a list maintained by the Lawyers Association.  
Fees are paid by the Government.

Exile and incommunicado detention are illegal and not practiced.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Portugal has an independent and impartial judicial system.  All 
trials are public except those which may offend the dignity of 
the victim, such as in cases involving the sexual abuse of 
children.  The accused is presumed innocent unless proven 
guilty.  In trials for serious crimes, a panel of three judges 
(which does not include the investigating judge) presides.  In 
trials for lesser crimes, a single judge presides.  A 
ministerial delegate assists the judges in reviewing the 
evidence.  At the request of the accused, a jury may be used in 
trials for major crimes.  In practice, requests for jury trials 
are extremely rare.  Sentence may be passed only in the 
presence of the defense attorney.

Portugal holds no political prisoners.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

The Constitution forbids forced entry into homes and searches 
without a judicial warrant.  In addition, entry into a person's 
home at night requires the consent of the occupant.  The State 
does not intercept private correspondence or place wiretaps 
except with a court order.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Freedom of speech and press is provided for in the Constitution 
and respected by the State.  The constitutionally mandated High 
Commission for Social Communication acts as a watchdog to 
protect freedom of speech and access to the media.  The 
Commission, members of which are chosen by the Government and 
by the Assembly of the Republic, makes recommendations to the 
Assembly and has enforcement powers.  The academic community is 
free to express its views.

The State owns two television channels.  However, the provision 
of the Constitution making television a state monopoly was 
removed in 1990, and two privately owned television channels 
now operate.  One of them is owned by the Catholic Church.

In principle, the Government does not exercise direct control 
over the state-owned television channels, though it does wield 
considerable influence through personnel appointments.  
Opposition parties sometimes charge that the state network 
ignores or distorts opposition views and activities; station 
news directors defend their decisions as based on editorial 
judgments, not political partisanship.  All political parties, 
even very small ones, use their legal right to "antenna time" 
during prime viewing and listening hours.

Privately owned radio stations have operated in Portugal since
1989.  More than 250 local privately owned stations are on the 
air.  The entire spectrum of political thought is represented 
in the press.  There is no press censorship.  All newspapers 
are privately owned.

"Fascist" organizations are prohibited by law, although some 
small, extreme rightwing groups hold meetings of their members 
and run candidates for public office without interference.  In 
September, however, the Constitutional Court began for the 
first time to consider whether a group--the National Action 
Movement--should be banned as Fascist and for its involvement 
in violent incidents.  The Court did not reach a decision in 

The law provides that a person may be prosecuted for 
"insulting" certain state authorities if the "insult" is 
intended to undermine the rule of law.  There were no known 
prosecutions for "insult" in this sense in 1993.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

People have the right, in law and practice, to associate 
formally or informally to promote nonviolent causes.  Public 
meetings or protests require 24-hour advance notice to the 
civil governor of the region in which the event is to be held.  
Permission is routinely granted.  The official registration of 
a new political party requires 5,000 signatures.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Portugal does not have a state religion.  The Government does 
not interfere with the free practice of religion, missionary 
work, or religious publications.  These freedoms extend to the 
foreign clergy, many of whom work in Portugal.  Organized 
religious groups may establish places of worship, train clergy, 
and proselytize without government interference.  To qualify as 
tax-exempt institutions, religious groups must be established 
as nonprofit, private societies.

Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion.  Catholic 
religious instruction is offered as an elective course in 
public schools.  Other denominations offer religious education 
in their own institutions without interference.  Success in a 
civil, military, professional, or political career does not 
depend upon adherence to a religious creed.  There were no 
reported cases of religious persecution in 1993.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The Constitution provides for the right of freedom of movement, 
foreign travel, and emigration.  There are no restraints on 
domestic travel or on the right of a person to change his 
domicile.  Citizenship is not revoked for political reasons.

Displaced persons who qualify as refugees as defined by the 
1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 
Protocol are entitled to permanent resident status and work 
permits.  Such displaced persons are not forced to return to 
the country from which they fled.

Faced with a rapidly increasing number of asylum requests, 
which the Government characterized as 98- or 99-percent 
economically motivated, and a burgeoning illegal immigration 
problem, Portugal tightened its lenient 1980 asylum law in 
September 1993.  Under the new law, Portugal continues to meet 
its international obligations concerning refugees but provides 
for more rapid processing of applicants.  The possibility of 
permanent residence is retained.  The law places the decision 
on granting asylum with the Interior Ministry instead of the 
judicial system.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Portugal is a multiparty, participatory democracy.  Candidates 
for president and for legislative, regional, and municipal 
offices are freely nominated and are elected by secret ballot 
on the basis of universal suffrage.

The unicameral Assembly of the Republic is the legislative 
body.  The Prime Minister is the head of the Government. 
Opposition parties and candidates operate freely and enjoy 
access to the media.   General elections are held at least once 
every 4 years.  The President has a 5-year mandate and may not 
serve more than two consecutive terms.

Women and minorities participate in the political process 
without restriction.  Women are represented in the Parliament, 
holding 24 out of 230 seats, including the office of Vice 
President of the Assembly.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Local and international human rights groups operate freely in 
Portugal.  The Government cooperates with independent outside 
investigations of human rights conditions and actively 
participates in the monitoring of human rights by the Council 
of Europe.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The Constitution forbids discrimination based on ancestry, sex, 
race, language, territory of origin, religion, political or 
ideological convictions, education, economic situation, or 
social condition.


Various women's groups in Portugal have drawn attention to the 
largely hidden problem of violence against women, particularly 
within the family.  Portuguese law provides for criminal 
penalties in cases of violence between husbands and wives 
without referring specifically to violence against wives.  
Women's groups point out that traditional attitudes discourage 
many women who suffer such violence from seeking recourse in 
the judicial system.  They complain that Portugal lacks 
institutions established specifically to provide relief to 
battered women.  No specific institutions were established in 
1993 to provide such relief.  However, when complaints are 
brought, the judicial system is not reluctant to prosecute 
those accused of abusing women.

The Civil Code provides for full legal equality for women.  
Women are increasing their representation in universities, 
business, science, government, and the professions.  
Traditional attitudes of male dominance persist but are 
changing gradually.  The Commission for Equality and Rights of 
Women, an official organization established in 1976, is a 
leading advocate of women's rights.

The Commission for Equality in Work and Employment, an entity 
of the Ministry of Employment and Social Security, commissioned 
a study, completed in 1993, entitled "Sexual Harassment in the 
Workplace."  The study reported that 72 percent of respondents 
believed incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace were 
frequent and 87 percent believed the incidents that occurred 
were serious.  The study noted that the reaction of victims of 
such harassment was characterized by passivity.  The study 
concluded that sexual harassment and its usual nonrecognition, 
as well as the absence of legal means to fight harassment, are 
factors in discrimination that injure the dignity of female 
workers in Portugal.


The government entity to promote the welfare of children is the 
Institute for Support of Children.  According to the Institute, 
it has been allocated inadequate funds.  Most of the funds it 
does receive are spent on publicity campaigns against the abuse 
of child labor.  It attempts to discourage the use of children 
as a means of reducing labor costs in low-technology, 
home-based industries (see Section 6.d.).

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The principal minority groups are immigrants, legal and 
illegal, from Portugal's former African colonies (Angola, Cape 
Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Sao Tome and Principe).  
Cape Verdeans comprise the largest such group, over 25,000.   
There is also a resident Gypsy population.  Societies for 
African immigrants publicize the problems of their members, 
including those stemming from what they perceive as racism.  
The Government denies that racist actions are taking place.  
The press reported, however, a number of racially motivated 
incidents in 1993 that were apparently perpetrated by small, 
loosely knit "skinhead" groups.  In a September incident with 
racial overtones, the Embassy of Sao Tome and Principe claimed 
that one of its diplomats was assaulted without provocation by 
a policeman in a Lisbon train station.  Although he did not 
admit intentional wrongdoing by the police, President Mario 
Soares closed this incident with an apology to the Government 
of Sao Tome and Principe.

     People with Disabilities

While there have been no reported allegations of discrimination 
against persons with disabilities in the areas of employment or 
provision of state services, handicapped individuals consider 
there is much room for improvement.  Legislation mandates 
access to public facilities for persons with disabilities, and 
it is generally complied with.  No such legislation covers 
private businesses or other facilities.  While there is no 
legislation prohibiting discrimination against persons with 
disabilities, the Portuguese Government has issued 
administrative decrees and regulations to that effect.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Workers in both the private and public sectors have the right 
to associate freely and to establish committees in the 
workplace "to defend their interests."  The Constitution 
provides for the right to establish unions by profession or 
industry.  Trade union associations are guaranteed the right to 
participate in the preparation of labor legislation.  Strikes 
are permitted for any reason, including political causes.  They 
are common and are generally resolved through direct 
negotiations between management and the unions involved.  
Lockouts are prohibited.  These constitutional guarantees are 
respected in practice.

There are two principal labor federations.  The General Union 
of Workers (UGT) is a pluralist democratic federation 
affiliated with the International Confederation of Free Trade 
Unions and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).  The 
General Confederation of Portuguese Workers Intersindical 
(CGTP-IN) is linked to the Communist Party and engages freely 
in cooperative activities with the formerly Soviet-controlled 
World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU).  The CGTP was expected 
to enter the ETUC in 1993 but this did not occur, partly as the 
result of conflicts within the CGTP itself.

Both federations and their affiliates function free from 
government control but are closely associated with political 
parties.  The CGTP-IN generally supports the Communist Party's 
policies and causes, but this position continued to be openly 
criticized by elements of the membership in 1993.  UGT leaders 
are associated with either the Socialist or the Social 
Democratic Party.  Although some UGT leaders serve in the 
Assembly of the Republic, the Federation pursues a generally 
independent path that occasionally puts it in conflict with the 
Socialist or the Social Democratic Party or both, as well as 
the Government.  The labor movement in Portugal exercises 
significant influence on areas of social and economic 

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Unions are free to organize without government or employer 
interference.  Collective bargaining is guaranteed by the 
Constitution and practiced extensively in the public and 
private sectors.  Collective bargaining disputes rarely lead to 
prolonged strike action.  Should a long strike occur in a key 
sector (for example, health or transportation), the Government 
is empowered to order the workers back to work for a specific 
period.  The Government has rarely done so, in part because 
most strikes are limited to periods of 1 to 3 days.  Under a 
modification of the strike law, a "minimal level of service" 
must be provided during certain strikes, including those in the 
public health, energy, and transportation sectors.  The 
modified law was first applied in a rail workers strike in 
March.  Minimal levels of service were successfully established 
by common agreement with the Government.  When collective 
bargaining fails, the Government, at the request of either 
management or labor, may appoint a mediator.

Union officials and members are protected by law against 
antiunion discrimination, and this law is observed in 
practice.  Complaints are promptly examined by the General 
Directorate of Labor.

Portugal has no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced labor is prohibited and does not exist in Portugal.  
This prohibition is enforced by the General Labor Inspectorate.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum employment age has been 15 years since 1992.  It is 
to be raised to 16 when the period of 9 years of compulsory 
schooling takes effect on January 1, 1997.

The UGT and CGTP-IN have charged that a number of "clandestine" 
companies in the textile, shoe, and construction industries in 
northern Portugal exploit child labor.  It is difficult to 
quantify the extent of child labor exploitation because much 
child labor has been transferred to home facilities.  
Government inspection teams can enter such facilities only with 
search warrants.  In practical terms, control is extremely 
difficult because of the dispersed nature of the problem and 
the administrative complexity of police entry for investigative 
purposes.  Control of underage employment is thereby 
frustrated.  According to the Government's General Labor 
Inspectorate, which is responsible for enforcement of child 
labor laws, between 30,000 and 35,000 children from 12 to 15 
years of age are working in Portugal.  The Inspectorate's 
funding has been increased, and the number of inspectors is 
growing.  Since the law was changed to raise the maximum fine, 
the Inspectorate has begun to levy large fines on employers 
found to be using child labor.  The Government has yet to 
allocate resources sufficient to cope effectively with the 
problem, however, which has thus remained essentially 

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Minimum wage legislation covers full-time workers, as well as 
rural workers and domestic employees aged 18 or over.  The 
current minimum monthly wage of about $278, established on 
January 1, 1993, is generally enforced.  Even with rent control 
and various social assistance subsidies, it is difficult for a 
single-income family to maintain a decent standard of living on 
the minimum wage income, particularly in urban areas.

Current legislation limits regular hours of work to 8 hours per 
day and 44 hours per week, but agreement has been reached to 
reduce the workweek to 40 hours by 1995.  Overtime is limited 
to 2 hours per day, up to 200 hours annually.  Work on a normal 
day off is restricted to 8 hours.  These limits are respected 
in practice.  Workers are guaranteed 30 days of paid annual 
leave per year.  The Ministry of Employment and Social Security 
monitors compliance through its regional inspectors.

Employers are legally responsible for accidents at work and are 
required by law to carry accident insurance.  Portugal has 
developed a body of legislation that regulates safety and 
health.  Labor unions consider these regulations inadequate and 
continue to press for stiffer legislation.  The General 
Directorate of Hygiene and Labor Security develops safety 
standards, and the General Labor Inspectorate is responsible 
for enforcement but, as in the case of alleged child labor 
abuses, the Inspectorate lacks sufficient funds and inspectors 
to combat the problem effectively.  Accidents average between 
70,000 and 75,000 per quarter.  These figures have focused 
government attention particularly on the construction 
industry.  Poor environmental controls on the textile industry, 
concentrated in the north of Portugal, caused considerable 
concern.  The ability of workers to remove themselves from 
situations where these hazards exist is limited, but it is 
difficult to fire workers for any reason.  Civil lawsuits are 
rarely initiated in accident cases.

[end of document]


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