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TITLE:  SPAIN HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995









                             SPAIN


Spain is a democracy with a constitutional monarch.  The 
Parliament consists of two chambers, the Congress of Deputies 
and the Senate.

The security forces are controlled by the Government; 
allegations of human rights abuse are generally investigated, 
and individuals found guilty are punished by law.  Spanish 
security services also maintain anticorruption brigades which 
investigate allegations of governmental fraud or dishonesty.  
Since 1989 there has been a Special Advisor for Human Rights in 
the Ministry of Justice and Interior, charged with promoting 
humanitarian law and training senior members of law enforcement 
groups in human rights issues.  Years-old charges of police 
abuse of detainees were still being investigated at year's end.

The economy is market-based, with primary reliance on private 
initiative, although there remain a number of public-sector 
enterprises in key areas.  The economy has been in recession 
since 1992, but it grew by an estimated 1.7 percent in 1994.  
While the unemployment rate improved, at year's end official 
data indicated it remained well over 20 percent.  Actual 
unemployment is lower than these data indicate, due to  the 
extensive underground economy.  Nonetheless, the rate is 
problematically high.  The main causes of this are the entry of 
large numbers of people into the labor force 
(disproportionately affecting women and youth) and some labor 
laws that tend to impede job creation.  Parliament in 1994 
enacted a labor reform package to help create jobs.

The Constitution provides for the fundamental rights of freedom 
of speech, assembly, press, religion, movement, and suffrage, 
and the Government respects these provisions.  The Basque 
Fatherland and Freedom Separatist Group (ETA) continued its 
longstanding terrorist campaign, committing killings and other 
abuses.  The Government's efforts to bring terrorists to 
justice were marred by detainees' accusations of 
ill-treatment.  In September 1993 two suspected ETA 
collaborators died while in police custody; the Government has 
not yet released the results of its investigation.  A prisoner 
died under disputed circumstances while in solitary 
confinement.  Other human rights problems included persistent 
de facto discrimination against Roma, reports of police 
mistreatment of detainees, and maladministration of Spain's 
judicial system as it copes with a huge backlog of cases (of 
all kinds of crime) and a severe shortage of justices.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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, 
but the September 1993 incident in which two suspected ETA 
collaborators died while in police custody was still under 
investigation at the end of 1994, and in February a prisoner 
was found dead in a solitary-confinement cell.

Regarding the 1993 incident, one death was due to cardiac 
arrest, and the other to a fall from a second-story window.  
The Prime Minister pledged the Government would carry out an 
investigation, with total "transparency," until both deaths 
were fully explained.  A prominent nongovernmental human rights 
organization launched its own investigation.

The Government considers the February prison "suicide" case 
closed.  While medical evidence indicates the prisoner's death 
was the result of severe trauma to the head, there is no 
conclusive evidence as to whether this was caused by a severe 
beating by guards (as inmates allege) or by self-inflicted 
injuries (as authorities claim, saying he had a history of 
mental illness and self-beating).  Local human rights 
organizations are divided on this question.

In July a former Civil Guard member and three other defendants 
charged with the 1992 race-motivated killing of a female 
Dominican illegal immigrant were convicted of the 
much-publicized crime.  The ex-Guard member was sentenced to 
life imprisonment (see Section 5).

A detailed investigation by the judiciary completely 
exculpated  the police in the case of an American citizen who 
died in 1992 after fleeing police in the Canary Islands; the 
family of the deceased, and their legal representative, 
accepted this outcome.

To avoid a possibly negative ruling by the European Court of 
Human Rights, in March the Government agreed to settle out of 
court a 1982 case involving a youth who was killed while in 
police custody in the Canary Islands.  The European Commission 
of Human Rights ruled in favor of Spain against the charges of 
torture, and that there was no violation of the right to life.  
But it concluded that the father of the victim had been denied 
due process in seeking justice for the death of his son; the 
Government awarded him $47,000 (6 million pesetas).

There continued to be frequent terrorist incidents.  During the 
first 10 months (latest data), 14 attacks attributed to the ETA 
resulted in 15 deaths and 39 injuries.  As usual, the majority 
of those killed were members of security forces.  However, in 
May the ETA planted bombs on beaches near San Sebastian, and 
the resulting explosions maimed three persons.  The ETA carried 
out beatings and killings of suspected drug dealers and others 
it deemed "enemies of the Basque people"; at least three people 
are believed to have been killed for this reason during the 
year.  Other actions by the ETA and its affiliates caused 
property damage in the Basque region.

In September a lawyer for Castilian-speakers opposing 
Catalonia's Law of Language Normalization (see Section 5) 
received a letter-bomb that failed to detonate.  No one claimed 
responsibility, and there have been no arrests.  

    b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearance.  The Basque 
industrialist whom the ETA kidnaped in 1993 was released later 
that year; authorities have not been able to determine whether 
any ransom was paid.  (The Government forbids payment of ransom 
by families of kidnap victims, and in some cases it has frozen 
the family's assets.)

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

The law prohibits such acts.  Spain is a signatory to the U.N. 
Convention against Torture.  Nonetheless, detainees charged 
with terrorism invariably assert they have been abused during 
detention, and similar charges are sometimes made by other 
detainees.  In July a high-level investigation into the alleged 
abuse of six recently captured terrorists concluded that the 
claims were unfounded.  ETA members in Uruguay unsuccessfully 
based their arguments against extradition on grounds they 
feared mistreatment in Spain.

Nonetheless, documented cases of abuses do exist.  Individuals, 
nongovernmental organizations, and the media frequently have 
accused the Civil Guard of unprovoked brutality, particularly 
in the Basque region.  The Spanish Association Against Torture 
asserted that the number of complaints of police brutality 
increased by 40 percent from 1992 to 1993.  In November it 
asked the Minister of Justice and Interior to review the status 
of 335 security personnel who have been officially implicated 
in torture or abuse.  The U.N. Human Rights Commission reported 
in February that there are eight unresolved cases of 
individuals abused while in custody during 1992-93.  In 
November the U.N. Committee Against Torture agreed for the 
first time to review a case alleging mistreatment by Spanish 
security forces; an ETA terrorist sentenced to over 2,000 years 
in prison claimed he was tortured during his 1990 
interrogation.  In the military, various complaints of 
mistreatment of recruits surfaced in 1994, some of which led to 
prosecutions of military officers.

In December 1993 the Supreme Court overturned the appeals of 
five former members of the Civil Guard convicted in 1990 of 
torturing the father of a suspected ETA member in 1981.  The 
perpetrators received 6-month prison terms and 7 years on 
probation.  Others implicated in the crime or its coverup 
received probation or reprimands.

In March a court sentenced five national police officers to
5 1/2 months in prison and 48 years on probation for torture 
and illegal detention of seven transients in 1982 and for 
perjury.

In July the Supreme Court overruled a lower court's decision 
that the statute of limitations had run out for charges against 
five policemen for torture in a 1982 incident.  (One defendant 
had been convicted earlier of a different torture charge, yet 
was able to keep his job during the years of litigation on the 
1982 incident, and was even promoted to commander.)  All are 
now serving sentences.

In November two Civil Guard officers were convicted of 
torturing two female ETA suspects in 1984; the offenders were 
sentenced to 6 months in jail and 26 years on probation.  Also 
in November, a Basque tribunal convicted three other officers 
of police brutality in a retrial (ordered by the Supreme Court) 
of a 1982 case in which the three had been found not guilty; 
each was sentenced to 2 months in jail and 2 months on 
suspension.

    d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and 
the authorities respect this provision.  A suspect normally may 
not be held more than 72 hours without a hearing.  The Penal 
Code permits holding a suspected terrorist 2 more days without 
a hearing.  An asylum law passed in May permits the petitioner 
to be detained at the port of entry for up to 4 days without a 
hearing, but at year's end the legality of the law was under 
review by the courts (see Section 2.d.).  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 
Court at its apex.  A Constitutional Court protects 
constitutional rights, but there is no clear distinction 
between its jurisdiction and that of the Supreme Court on some 
issues, nor is it clear which has ultimate authority.  The 
European Court of Human Rights is the final arbiter in cases 
concerning human rights.

A severe backlog of pending cases--some 40,000 of all kinds 
(not only human rights)--and an acute shortage of judges have 
made plain the need to overhaul the judicial system.  In 
September the Government submitted to Parliament bills covering 
judicial reform and establishment of a jury system.

Defendants have the right to be represented by an attorney (at 
state expense for the indigent).  They routinely are released 
on bail unless the court has reason to believe the suspect may 
flee or be a threat to public safety.  The law calls for an 
expeditious judicial hearing following arrest.  Suspects may 
not be confined for more than 2 years before being brought to 
trial, unless a further delay is authorized by a judge, who may 
extend pretrial custody to 6 years.  In practice, pretrial 
custody generally is less than a year.  In cases of petty 
crime, suspects released on bail sometimes wait as long as 5 
years for trial.  As of July, 12,780 people were in jail 
awaiting trial--over one-fourth of the entire prison 
population, although this is down from 38 percent in 1990.  
Following conviction, defendants may appeal to the next higher 
court.

Human rights groups and members of the press complain that 
accused human rights offenders have avoided penalization by 
prolonging the appeals process, and that sentences for 
convicted abusers are unduly light.  (Both kinds of complaints 
are borne out by the 1994 court actions reported above in 
Section 1.c.)

    f.  Arbitrary Interference With Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

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 authorizes the Minister 
of the Interior to act prior to obtaining court approval "in 
cases of emergency."   There have been no complaints of abuse 
of this authority.

The Congress of Deputies passed legislation in 1992 broadening 
police authority to makes searches and detentions without a 
court order, mostly in antinarcotics operations, but in 1993 
this law was ruled unconstitutional.  During the 20 months it 
was in force, this law led to 340 raids and 940 arrests.  Many 
damage claims have been filed against the Government.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

    a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press, 
and the Government respects these provisions.  Opposition 
viewpoints, from political parties and other organizations, are 
freely aired and widely reflected in the media.

    b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Under 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 provides for freedom of religion, and the 
Government respects this in practice.  Roman Catholicism is the 
predominant religion, and its institutions receive official 
funding.  Protestant and Jewish leaders have refused the 
Government's offer of financial support.

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

Citizens are free to travel within and outside the country, to 
emigrate, and to repatriate.  The law on aliens permits 
detention for up to 40 days prior to deportation, but specifies 
it must not take place in a prison-like setting.  Generally, 
the Government grants refugee status on the recommendation of 
the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Suspecting that economic refugees are clogging the system with 
spurious requests for asylum, the Parliament passed a new law 
on asylum which took effect in September.  This gives the 
Ministry of Justice and Interior more powers to handle asylum 
cases, but mandates that they be referred to the UNHCR for 
appeal.  Asylum requests may be made only at the port of entry, 
where the applicant can be held for up to 4 days without 
judicial intervention.  Time allowed to process the application 
can prolong the initial detention to 7 days.  The new law also 
allows the applicant to stay in detention until the case is 
resolved; 1993 cases took 3 months on average.  No provisions 
are made for detainees to have access to translators or 
lawyers.  Enforcement of the new law has been held up pending a 
court ruling on its constitutionality.

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 in 
secret ballot for Parliament as well as for provincial and 
local bodies.  At all levels of government, elections are held 
at least every 4 years.

Governmental power is shared between the central Government and 
17 regional "autonomous communities," which are similar to U.S. 
states in function.  The Basque and Catalan regions are 
governed by regional parties that reflect the desires of many 
there to give political expression to their linguistic and 
cultural identities.  These parties provide democratic 
alternatives to separatist groups which advocate achieving 
independence through terrorist violence.

Women are increasing their participation in the political 
process.  The number of female candidates increased in the 1993 
national elections.  However, under Spain's electoral system 
the percentage of votes for a party determines the number 
elected from that party's list of candidates; and because many 
women have been placed in the lower half of the list, the 
number elected has never reached 25 percent of those who attain 
office.  In the Congress, 54 of the 350 deputies are women, 
while in the Senate women number 32 of 256 members.  There are 
three female ministers.  In March the ruling Socialist Party 
mandated a 25-percent quota for women to participate in all its 
political endeavors.  Other parties have similar quotas, but 
none currently fulfills them.

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

A number of nongovernmental human rights groups are established 
in Spain, including the Human Rights Association of Spain, in 
Madrid, and the Human Rights Institute of Catalonia, in 
Barcelona.  All operate freely without government interference.

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.

    Women

While in recent years women have moved towards equality under 
the law, and entered the educational system and the work force 
in larger numbers, traditional attitudes continue to impose de 
facto discrimination.  This varies considerably among the 
regions.  Although one-third more women (mainly those under age 
29) work outside the home than a decade ago, women make up only 
a third of the total work force.  Growing numbers of women 
occupy senior governmental positions, among them the Ministers 
of Social Affairs, Health, and Culture, and about 30 percent of 
the number of judges (a profession that was closed to women 
before 1977).  Also, women outnumber men in the legal, 
journalistic, and health care professions.

The law mandates equal pay for equal work.  In March the 
Constitutional Court ruled that 140 women employed at a 
cosmetics firm were paid less than their male colleagues, and 
awarded them back pay plus damages.  Earlier, the United Left 
Party proposed legislation to overcome what it asserts is a 20 
percent gap between the average salaries of women and of men.

Sexual abuse, violence, and harassment of women continued to be 
areas of concern.  According to the nongovernmental (but 
largely government-funded) Commission for Investigation of 
Mistreatment of Women, 86 women were killed by male partners in 
1993 (latest data).  The Commission estimated that only 10 
percent of the approximately 250,000 violent acts against women 
each year are reported to authorities, owing in part to the 
unsympathetic attitudes of some police and judicial personnel.  
Some rape cases in 1994 were decided on the degree of the 
victim's physical resistance.  According to the Rape Victim's 
Assistance Association, 322 rapes and 409 sexual assaults were 
reported in 1993.  A 1989 law prohibits harassment in the 
workplace, but very few cases have been brought to trial under 
this law.

Several levels of government provide assistance to battered 
women.  A toll-free hot-line advises women where to go for 
government shelter or other aid if maltreated.  The Government 
also runs educational programs seeking to change public 
attitudes that contribute to violence against women.  The 
Women's Institute has charged that some judges show reluctance 
to get involved in cases of violence against a woman by a 
member of her family.  Similarly, in smaller towns some police 
officers have been reluctant to accept complaints from battered 
women.  Recognizing the latter problem, the Ministry of the 
Interior initiated a program in 1986 that created special 
sections within the national police to deal with violence 
against women, staffed by specially trained women officers.

    Children

The Ministries of Health and Social Affairs are responsible for 
the welfare of children, and have created a number of programs 
to aid needy children.  Under the expected new Penal Code, 
children under age 18 are not considered responsible for their 
acts, and so cannot be sent to prison.

    National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Roma, constituting about 3 percent of the population, continue 
to suffer de facto discrimination in housing, schools, and 
jobs.  Legal mechanisms exist by which they may seek redress, 
and the Government has stated its commitment to securing equal 
treatment for them.  In November the ex-mayor of Mancha Real 
and six others began serving their sentences for destroying 
seven Roma homes in May 1991 in retaliation for the murder of a 
non-Roma Spaniard; the ex-mayor was convicted of inciting the 
mob that attacked a Roma settlement, and in 1994 the Supreme 
Court extended his 1-year sentence to 5 years in prison.

Since 1991 the Madrid city government, in cooperation with the 
autonomous regional government, has been carrying out a program 
to relocate squatters--the great majority of whom are Roma--to 
housing projects within the region.  Spain's largest Roma 
organization, Gypsy Presence, protests this, and complains that 
the city has put up fences and police checkpoints which make 
Roma communities resemble prison camps.  In May 300 Roma were 
ordered to relocate to an open field; the group's complaints 
that that area lacks basic services have found support in 
nongovernment organizations and the press.  The city government 
denies any anti-Roma bias in its actions.

Six of the 17 Autonomous Communities use a language or dialect 
other than Castilian Spanish.  The Constitution stipulates that 
citizens have the "duty to know" Castilian, which "is the 
official language of state," but it adds that other languages 
can also be official under regional statutes, and that the 
"different language variations of Spain are a cultural heritage 
which shall be...protected."  Catalonia has passed a law 
whereby Catalan is to be taught in the region's schools and is 
to be used for official regional functions.  In December the 
Constitutional Court ruled against a challenge to the 
constitutionality of this law, in a case brought by several 
Spanish-speakers in Catalonia who claim to be discriminated 
against in education and employment.  Suits regarding specific 
applications of this law are still pending in various courts.

Spain's human rights groups and media continued to give 
increasing attention to the human rights of the growing numbers 
of illegal immigrants from northern and sub-Saharan Africa.  
Cases of police mistreatment were often reported.  In March the 
Government announced it would increase deportations of 
non-Spanish citizens convicted of even minor crimes.

The most publicized incident against foreigners was the 1992 
killing of a female illegal Dominican immigrant by an off-duty 
member of the Civil Guard.  In July a Madrid court sentenced 
him to 126 years in jail and gave lesser prison terms to three 
co-defendants; the daughter of the victim was awarded an 
indemnity of $156,250 (20 million pesetas).

    People with Disabilities

Since 1982 a law on assistance for disabled citizens has been 
in effect which aims at ensuring fair access to public 
employment, preventing discrimination, and improving physical 
accessibility to public facilities and transportation.  Such 
accessibility has not yet improved much in many areas.  In 1993 
the autonomous community in Madrid passed a law requiring all 
new construction there to 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 freely entitled to form or 
join unions of their own choosing.  All that is required for 
organizing a union is that more than two workers register with 
the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.  Spain has over 200 
registered trade unions, and one not legally registered 
(because the Constitutional Court ruled in 1986 it was 
ineligible, as it represents military personnel).

Under the Constitution, trade unions are free to choose their 
representatives, determine their 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 if its 
sponsors give 5 days' notice.  Any striking union must respect 
minimum-service requirements negotiated with the respective 
employer.  The right to strike has been interpreted by the 
Constitutional Court to include general strikes called to 
protest government policy; in January there was a 1-day 
nationwide strike by a group of unions to protest proposed 
labor-market reform legislation.  Strikes occur frequently, but 
most are brief.  Data for 1993 (latest available) show a sharp 
downturn in strike activity, presumably reflecting Spain's 
economic recession.

Unions are free to form or join federations and to affiliate 
with international bodies, and do so without hindrance.

    b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

A 1980 statute undergirds the right to organize and bargain 
collectively.  Trade union and collective bargaining rights 
were extended in 1986 to all workers in the public sector, 
except the military services.  Public-sector collective 
bargaining in 1990 was broadened to include salaries and 
employment levels, but the Government retained the right to set 
these if negotiations failed.  Collective bargaining agreements 
are widespread in both the public and private sectors; in the 
latter they cover 60 percent of workers, notwithstanding that 
only about 10 percent of them are union members.

The law prohibits discrimination by employers against union 
members and organizers.  Discrimination cases have priority in
the labor courts.  Legislation in 1990 gave unions a role in 
controlling temporary work contracts to prevent abuses of these 
and of terminations of employment.  Nonetheless, the unions 
contend employers are discriminating in many cases by refusing 
to renew the temporary employment contract of a worker who has 
engaged in union organizing; more than a third of all employees 
in Spain are under temporary contracts.  In June the Parliament 
passed legislation that greatly limits the types of workers who 
may be employed under temporary contracts.

The same legislation abolishes some work rules dating back to 
the Franco dictatorship decades ago, and leaves it to the 
collective bargaining process to come up with replacements.

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.

    c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

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

    d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The statutory minimum age for employment 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 law also prohibits 
the employment of persons under age 18 at night, for overtime 
work, or in sectors considered hazardous.

    e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The legal minimum wage for workers over age 18 is considered 
sufficient for a decent standard of living for workers and 
their families.  The daily minimum wage was $15.77 (2,019 
pesetas); for those aged 16 or 17 it was $10.42 (1,334 
pesetas).  These rates are revised every year in line with the 
Consumer Price Index and are effectively enforced by the 
Ministry of Labor and Social Security.  The law sets a 40-hour 
workweek with an unbroken rest period of 36 hours after each 40 
hours worked.  Workers enjoy 12 paid holidays a year and a 
month's paid vacation.  Worktime limits are effectively 
enforced.

Government mechanisms exist for enforcing working conditions 
and occupational health and safety rules, but bureaucratic 
procedures are cumbersome and inefficient.  Safety and health 
legislation is being revised to conform to European Union 
directives.  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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