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


Spain is a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional 
monarch, King Juan Carlos I.  In free and open elections held 
in June 1993, Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez was reelected to a 
fourth term, albeit as head of a minority government.

The security forces are under the full control of the 
government; allegations of human rights abuse are investigated, 
and those found guilty are punished by law.  Spanish security 
services maintain anticorruption brigades that investigate 
allegations of fraud and dishonesty within each service.  Since 
1989, a Special Advisor for Human Rights in the Ministry of the 
Interior has been in charge of promoting humanitarian law and 
training senior members of law enforcement groups in human 
rights issues.  Charges of police abuse of detainees were being 
investigated at year's end.

The economy is market based, with primary reliance on private 
initiative, although there are still a sizable number of public 
sector enterprises.  The economy lapsed into recession in 1992 
and was expected to decline by approximately 1 percent in 
1993.  High unemployment, amounting to approximately 22 percent 
as of September 1993, continued, due in part to the entry of 
large numbers of people into the labor force.

The fundamental rights of freedom of speech, assembly, press, 
religion, movement, and participation in the political process 
are provided for in the Constitution of 1978 and are respected 
in practice.  The Basque Fatherland and Freedom Separatist 
Group (ETA) continued to wage a protracted campaign of 
terrorism, although the number of incidents declined in 1993.  
The Government's efforts to bring individual terrorists to 
justice resulted in accusations by detainees of ill-treatment.  
In late September, two suspected ETA collaborators died while 
in police custody due to circumstances that by year's end had 
not been fully explained.  Preliminary reports by the state 
coroner and police investigations failed to find any evidence 
of irregular police action.  Other human rights problems 
included de facto discrimination against Gypsies and increasing 
reports of police mistreatment of illegal aliens.


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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no known political killings by government forces.  
In late September, two suspected ETA collaborators died while 
in police custody, one as a result of cardiac arrest and the 
other from injuries incurred when, according to police, he fell 
from a second-story window.  Prime Minister Gonzalez pledged 
complete "transparency" in the Government's investigation of 
the deaths until the incidents were fully explained.  By year's 
end, investigations had not found any evidence of wrongdoing by 
police authorities.  A prominent nongovernmental human rights 
organization launched its own investigation into the incidents.

The death of an American citizen after fleeing police in the 
Canary Islands in 1992 has not been fully explained and remains 
under investigation by Spanish judicial authorities.  Spanish 
courts found no evidence of police wrongdoing and initially 
ordered the case to be closed.  However, the family's lawyer 
contested this resolution, and the case continued under 
investigation at year's end.  It is customary in many Spanish 
regions for investigations to take as long as a year, sometimes 

Frequent terrorist incidents continued during 1993, although 
those resulting in deaths or serious injuries decreased 
significantly.  Between January and September, 14 
terrorist-related attacks resulted in 14 deaths and 37 
injuries.  As in previous years, the vast majority of those 
killed were members of the Guardia Civil and the National 
Police.  Ten of the deaths were attributed to ETA, one to the 
First of October Anti-Fascist Group (GRAPO), and one to the 
Basque group Iraultza Aske.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no claims during 1993 that police or government 
security forces carried out secret arrests or kidnapings.

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

Spanish law prohibits the use of torture or other cruel, 
inhuman, or degrading treatment.  Despite these provisions, 
detainees charged with terrorism continue to assert that they 
are abused during detention.  Persons arrested for criminal 
offenses sometimes made similar charges.  The Government had 
difficulty in credibly refuting such charges because, under the 
law, suspected terrorists may be held incommunicado for 5 
days.  Regarding the early 1992 charges of police abuse of 28 
suspected ETA detainees, at the end of 1993 investigations were 
continuing, and 9 civil guard suspects had been named, 
according to a prominent nongovernmental organization.  
Regarding 16 prison guards in Catalonia charged with brutality, 
no formal results of the investigations had been announced by 
year's end.

The media regularly reported alleged police mistreatment of 
northern and sub-Saharan Africans, particularly Moroccans, 
although there were no confirmed cases of abuse.  Police in 
Valencia in March initiated an investigation into mistreatment 
of a Moroccan citizen during a routine  identification check.  
Authorities had not announced the results of the investigation 
by year's end.

In February the Ombudsman released his 1992 report to the 
Parliament in which he denounced the "clearly racist and 
xenophobic attitudes" of many law enforcement officials in 
their dealings with foreigners, particularly at airports and 
other ports of entry.

Passengers on board a Moroccan ferry which docked in the port 
of Algeciras reported that when Spanish Civil Guards boarded 
the vessel to check documents, a fracus ensued in which the 
guards beat several of the passengers, including women and 
children.  There was no apparent followup on this case.

The Ombudsman received 31 complaints of police abuse in 1992.  
The Ombudsman condemned prison overcrowding.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and 
normally a suspect may not be held for more than 3 days without 
a judicial hearing.  Detainees have the right to counsel of 
their choice unless they are suspected of being terrorists, in 
which case legal counsel is appointed by the Government.  A 
suspected terrorist may be held up to 5 days without a hearing 
and without access to an attorney or family members.  Exile is 
not practiced.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary and the 
right to a fair public trial.  This right is observed in 
practice.  The judicial structure comprises territorial, 
provincial, regional, and municipal courts with the Supreme 
Tribunal at its apex.  The Constitutional Tribunal has 
jurisdiction over constitutional issues.  The European Court of 
Human Rights is the final arbiter in cases concerning human 

Defendants have the right to be represented by an attorney, at 
state expense for the indigent.  The right to be released on 
bail is guaranteed, unless the court has reason to believe a 
suspect may flee or constitutes a serious threat to public 
safety.  Suspects may not be confined for more than 2 years 
before being brought to trial, unless a further delay is 
authorized by a judge.  The period of pretrial custody may be 
extended up to 6 years, at the judge's discretion.  In 
practice, pretrial custody generally is less than 1 year.  
However, the Ombudsman's report for 1992 criticized ever- 
increasing delays in judicial proceedings.  In cases of petty 
crime, suspects released on bail may face a wait of as long as 
5 years before trial.  Following conviction, defendants may 
appeal to the next higher court.  A Supreme Court judge 
complained publicly in January about criticism from members of 
the Government and the governing Socialist Party (PSOE) for his 
ongoing investigation of allegations of improper campaign 
financing practices.  In February the second division of the 
Supreme Court directed the judge to suspend his investigation 
and submit a report on his findings within 10 days.

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

The Constitution protects the privacy of the home and 
correspondence.  Under the Criminal Code, government 
authorities must obtain court approval before searching private 
property, wiretapping, or interfering with private 
correspondence.  The antiterrorist law gives discretionary 
authority to the Minister of the Interior to act prior to 
obtaining court approval "in cases of emergency."  In February 
1992, the Parliament passed legislation called the Citizen's 
Security Law, broadening police authority to search certain 
residences and detain citizens without a court order.  The law, 
intended to aid in the fight against narcotics trafficking and 
terrorism, was passed despite strong criticism from the 
opposition parties that it was unconstitutional.  In November 
1993, the Constitutional Court, in a unanimous ruling, declared 
unconstitutional a key provision of the law which permitted law 
enforcement authorities to conduct searches without a warrant 
in certain circumstances.  The Court's ruling reportedly 
jeopardized about 800 arrests over the previous 2 years which 
were based on warrantless searches and an unknown number of 
convictions and was a key factor in the resignation of the 
Interior Minister who originally authored the law.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Freedom of speech and the press are provided for in the 
Constitution, and the Government observes these provisions.  
Opposition viewpoints, both from political parties and other 
organizations, are freely aired and are widely reflected in the 

In late September, the Supreme Court ruled that an interruption 
of a 1981 speech by the King in the Basque region by members of 
ETA's political wing, Herri Batasuna (HB), was a valid exercise 
of freedom of expression.  This was considered a landmark 
decision, given the broad respect the royal family commands and 
the Government's opposition to HB.  The hecklers, who were not 
held in custody, were tried under a law prohibiting insults 
against the royal family.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

As provided in the Constitution, all groups have the right of 
free assembly and association for political or other purposes.  
This right is fully respected and freely practiced.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.  There is no 
state religion.  Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion, 
and the Catholic Church receives official funding.  However, 
other religions are represented and function with full freedom.

In February, 1990 the Government concluded accords with 
federations of Spanish Jews and Protestants which ended a state 
of official legal discrimination against those two religions.  
The accords placed Protestants and Jews on an equal legal 
footing with Catholics, except in the matter of financial 
support from the Government, which both groups had renounced.  
Protestant, Muslim, and Jewish, as well as Catholic, students 
now have the right to receive separate religious instruction in 
public schools.  In April 1992 the Parliament passed 
legislation reaffirming the legal equality of all religions, 
including that of Islam.

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

Citizens have complete freedom to travel within and outside the 
country.  The Government restricts neither emigration nor 
repatriation.  The law on illegal aliens permits detention of a 
person for up to 40 days prior to expulsion but specifies that 
the detention may not take place in a prison-like setting.

Refugee and asylum cases are adjudicated by an interministerial 
commission.  Generally, the Government grants refugee status on 
the recommendations of the United Nations High Commissioner for 

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

Spain is a multiparty democracy with open elections in which 
all citizens 18 years of age and over have the right to vote 
for Parliament as well as for provincial and local bodies.  At 
all levels of government, elections must be held every 4 
years.  The most recent elections were general legislative 
elections in June 1993.

Spanish politics contain an important regional element which is 
particularly strong in Catalonia and the Basque country.  These 
two "autonomous communities" are similar to U.S. states. 
Governmental power in Spain is shared between the central 
Government and 17 regional "autonomous communities," each with 
its own specific powers.  The Catalan and Basque regions are 
ruled by regional parties which reflect the desires of many 
Catalans and Basques to give political expression to their own 
linguistic and cultural identities.  These parties provide 
democratic alternatives to separatist groups which advocate 
achieving independence through terrorist violence.  The 
regional parties' influence on the national level has increased 
by virture of the Government's minority position in the 

Participation of women in the political process continued to 
increase.  However, under Spain's electoral system, the 
percentage of votes won determines the number of candidates 
elected from the party list; hence a candidate's place on the 
list is crucial in determining election.  Since many women 
candidates were placed in the lower half of the lists, the 
number elected has never reached 25 percent.  Nevertheless, the 
number of women occupying prominent governmental positions 
continued to grow.  Of the 350 newly elected Members of 
Parliament, 55 are women.  At year's end, 3 of the 16 cabinet 
ministers were women, and there were 3 female Ambassadors in 
the Foreign Ministry.

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

A number of nongovernmental human rights groups, including the 
Human Rights Association of Spain and the Human Rights 
Institute of Catalonia in Barcelona operate freely without 
government interference.  The Government cooperates readily 
with international organizations investigating allegations of 
human rights abuses, such as the European Commission of Human 
Rights and international nongovernmental human rights groups, 
as well as with independent national groups.

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

The Constitution provides for equal rights for all citizens, 
and an independent Ombudsman actively investigates complaints 
of human rights abuses by the authorities.


While Spanish women have in recent years moved towards equality 
under the law, increased their access to the educational 
system, and entered the work force in larger numbers, 
traditional attitudes continued to result in de facto 
discrimination.  There is considerable regional variation in 
the extent of such discrimination.  The Government's 
initiatives on behalf of women included the establishment in 
1983 of the Women's Institute, which seeks to promote social, 
political, and economic equality.  In 1993 an updated draft of 
the Women's Institute 1988 Plan for Equality of Opportunities 
for Women went into effect.  Its essential provisions included 
establishing a working group between relevant ministries and 
women's groups aimed at assisting battered and sexually 
molested women; facilitating access to job search information 
networks; and promoting equal sharing of family 

Although one-third more women (mainly those younger than 29 
years of age) work outside the home than a decade ago, the 
incidence of such employment in Spain is still quite low.  
There are relatively few women in leadership positions in 
business, industry, or government.  Women's pay still lags 
behind that of men.  The 1993 Plan for Equality of 
Opportunities addressed this issue by developing programs aimed 
at subsidizing indefinite hiring contracts (versus lower paying 
temporary ones) and by promoting management training programs 
for women.

Sexual abuse, violence, and harassment of women in the 
workplace continued to be areas of stated governmental concern, 
but most such abuses were probably not reported, owing in part 
to the unsympathetic attitudes of police and judicial 
personnel.  However, the number of reported cases has grown in 
recent years.  The Women's Institute has charged that some 
judges are reluctant to get involved in what they feel should 
remain a domestic problem.  Similarly, in smaller towns some 
police officers have been reluctant to accept complaints from 
battered women.  To deal with this problem, the Ministry of the 
Interior initiated a program in 1986 that created special 
sections within the Police Department to deal with violence 
against women, staffed by specially trained women officers.  
Women's groups and other relevant nongovernmental organizations 
have supported this program, the impact of which is widely 
regarded as very positive.

Several levels of government provide institutional remedies, 
such as shelters for battered women.  The Government attempts 
through educational programs to change public attitudes that 
contribute to violence against women.  In 1989 the Parliament 
passed a law prohibiting verbal and physical harassment in the 
workplace, but no cases had been tried under this law by the 
end of 1993.


The Ministry of Social Affairs is charged with looking after 
the rights and welfare of children.  Through a directorate 
tasked with protecting the rights of minors, the Government has 
pursued programs aimed at preventing discrimination against 
teenagers and children.  Specific offices of this directorate 
deal with adoption and family sheltering.  The Ministry also 
has a Center for Studies of the Underaged and a Youth Institute 
charged with promoting social programs for teenagers and 

In early 1993, authorities discovered the bodies of three 
teenage girls who had been raped, tortured, and subsequently 
killed.  The investigation raised a national outrage because 
one of the suspected criminals was a convict who had failed to 
return to custody after a weekend leave.  The incident led the 
Ministry of Social Affairs to press for stiffer penalties and 
denial of jail passes for rapists.  By year's end, no 
legislation had been passed as a direct result of the 
Ministry's requests.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Gypsies, a minority group representing 3 percent of the 
population, continue to suffer de facto discrimination in 
housing, schools, and jobs.  Legal mechanisms exist by which 
the Gypsies may seek redress, and the Government has stated its 
commitment to securing equal rights and treatment for them.  
The municipal government in Madrid began a program in 1991 to 
relocate Gypsy families living in shacks on the outskirts of 
the capital to housing projects in established communities and 
toughened enforcement of existing antidrug laws to assuage 
fears that such relocations would increase drug-related crime.  
In 1993 the program, however, ran into funding problems and was 

Human rights groups and media continued to give increasing 
attention to the question of human rights for the growing 
numbers of illegal immigrants from northern and sub-Saharan 
Africa.  Discontent was particularly acute in the case of South 
Americans, especially Peruvians and Dominicans.  Their 
discontent resulted primarily from the lack of equal economic 
opportunities and disrespectful treatment by bureaucratic 

There were sporadic racist and antiforeigner attacks throughout 
Spain, some of which involved local police.  For example, an 
African-American student was attacked and beaten by a group of 
"skinheads."  He ran to a nearby building and called the 
police, but they refused to come to the scene and insisted he 
go to the station to file a complaint.  Other allegations of 
racist and antiforeigner incidents included refusal of service 
at restaurants and harassment by police.

In an effort to mitigate the increasing problem of 
antiforeigner violence, the Ministry of Social Affairs 
initiated a campaign entitled "Democracy is Equality" aimed at 
sensitizing the Spanish public to immigrants and at diminishing 
violence against minorities.  At least 12 nongovernmental 
organizations collaborated in the campaign.  The campaign used 
large billboards and television and radio commercials 
throughout Spain to promote equal treatment for Jews, 
homosexuals, the handicapped, and racial minorities.  Among 
other themes, the campaign used Spanish immigration to Northern 
Europe after the Civil War as a means of reminding the public 
that Spanish immigrants also had once benefited from 
opportunities abroad.

A group of parents from Spanish-speaking households in 
Catalonia staged demonstrations to protest the Catalan 
Government's refusal to order that their children's schools 
provide instruction in Castilian.  The Catalan Government's 
language instruction policy is aimed at making Catalan the 
language of preference, with Castilian a second language.  Each 
school, in consultation with parents and the local 
municipality, decides the mix of Catalan and Castilian to be 
used.  In most primary schools, most classes for children up to 
8 are taught in Catalan, with more Castilian added to the mix 
from age 9 on.  Some Castilian-speaking parents feel their 
children are at a disadvantage when forced into an educational 
system tought predominantly in Catalan.

     People with Disabilities

Since 1982 a law for the integration of disabled citizens has 
been in effect.  It aims at ensuring fair access to public 
employment, preventing disability, and facilitating physical 
accessibility for the disabled.  The law has had a dramatic 
effect in such key areas as providing access for the 
handicapped to public buildings and ensuring them parking 
areas, although it did not require physical accessibility.  In 
1993 the Autonomous Community in Madrid passed local 
legislation requiring that all new construction be adapted to 
the needs of the handicapped.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

All workers, except those in the military services, judges, 
magistrates, and prosecutors, are entitled to form or join 
unions of their own choosing without previous authorization.  
The only requisites for organizing a union are the formation of 
a group of more than two workers and registration with the 
Ministry of Labor and Social Security, which is routinely 
granted.  Spain has over 200 registered trade unions.  The only 
union presently in existence that is not legally registered is 
the Unified Trade Union of the Guardia Civil, which the 
Constitutional Court ruled in 1986 could not be registered as 
it purports to represent military personnel barred from 
unionization by the Constitution.

Under the Constitution, trade unions are free to choose their 
own representatives, determine their own policies, represent 
their members' interests, and strike.  They are not restricted 
or harassed by the Government and are independent of political 
parties.  A strike in nonessential services is legal when it 
fulfills the requirement of 5 days' prior notice.  Strikes must 
respect legal minimum service requirements, which are 
negotiated between the employer and the unions.  Strikes occur 
frequently in Spain, although most are of short duration.  Data 
for 1992 revealed the highest rate of working days lost to 
strikes, including a May 28 nationwide strike, since 1988, 
while preliminary data for 1993 showed many fewer lost days, 
likely a consequence of the country's economic recession.

Spanish unions are free to form or join federations and 
confederations and affiliate with international bodies, and 
they do so without hindrance.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The right to organize and bargain collectively was established 
by statute in 1980.  Trade union and collective bargaining 
rights were extended to all workers in the public sector, 
except the military services, in 1986.  Public sector 
collective bargaining in 1990 was broadened to include salaries 
and employment levels, but the Government retained the right to 
fix salary and employment levels if negotiations did not 
achieve an agreement.  Collective bargaining is widespread in 
both the private and public sectors.  Private sector collective 
bargaining agreements cover 60 percent of workers, although 
only a minority are actually union members.  Though firm 
figures are not available, it is generally accepted that only 
about 10 percent of workers are dues-paying union members.  
Labor regulations and practices in free trade zones and export 
processing zones are the same as in the rest of the country.  
Union membership in these zones is reportedly higher than the 
average throughout the economy.

The law prohibits discrimination by employers against union 
members and organizers.  Discrimination cases have priority in 
the labor courts.  A prominent multinational company was fined 
heavily in 1991 for discrimination against union organizers.  
Legislation favored by the unions and adopted in 1990 has given 
trade unions a role in controlling work contracts to prevent 
abuse of contract and termination actions.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is outlawed and is not practiced.  
The legislation is effectively enforced.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The legal minimum age for employment as established by statute 
is 16 years.  The Ministry of Labor and Social Security is 
primarily responsible for enforcement.  The minimum age is 
effectively enforced in major industries and in the service 
sector.  It is more difficult to control on small farms and in 
family-owned businesses.  Legislation prohibiting child labor 
is effectively enforced in the special economic zones.  The 
employment of persons under 18 years of age at night, for 
overtime work, or in sectors considered hazardous by the 
Ministry and the unions is also legally prohibited.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The legal minimum wage for workers over age 18 is considered 
sufficient for a decent standard of living.  The daily national 
minimum wage rate is approximately $15 (1,951 pesetas), 
effective January 1, 1993.  The minimum wage for those aged 16 
and 17 is less; $9.91 (1,289 pesetas).  The minimum wage is 
revised every year in accordance with the consumer price index 
and is effectively enforced by the Ministry of Labor and Social 
Security.  A 40-hour workweek is established by law, with a 
minimum unbroken rest period of a day and a half following each 
40 hours worked.  Spanish workers enjoy 12 paid holidays a year 
and a month's paid vacation.  Standards are effectively 

Government mechanisms exist for enforcing working conditions 
and occupational health and safety conditions, but bureaucratic 
procedures are cumbersome and inefficient.  The National 
Institute of Safety and Health within the Ministry of Labor has 
technical responsibility for developing labor standards, but 
the Inspectorate of Labor has responsibility for enforcing the 
legislation through judicial action when infractions are 
found.  Workers have legal protection for filing complaints 
about hazardous conditions.

[end of document]


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