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Title:  Spain Human Rights Practices, 1995   
Author:  U.S. Department of State    
Date:  March 1996    
 
 
 
 
                              SPAIN 
 
 
Spain is a democracy with a constitutional monarch.  The Parliament 
consists of two chambers, the Congress of Deputies and the Senate.  
Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez was elected to a fourth term in 1993, 
albeit as head of a minority government.  The Socialist-run Government 
has agreed to hold elections in March 1996, one year short of its 
mandated term of office.  The Government respects the constitutional 
provisions for an independent judiciary in practice. 
 
Spain has three levels of security forces.  The National Police are 
responsible for nationwide investigations, security in urban areas, 
traffic control, and hostage rescue.  The Civil Guard polices rural 
areas and controls borders and highways.  Autonomous police forces have 
taken over much of the duties of the Civil Guard in Galicia, Catalonia, 
and the Basque country.  The security forces are under the effective 
control of the Government; allegations of human rights abuses are 
investigated, and those found guilty are punished.  The security 
services also maintain governmental anticorruption units.  There is a 
Special Advisor for Human Rights in the Ministry of Justice and 
Interior, charged with promoting humanitarian law and providing human 
rights training to senior law enforcement personnel.  Some members of 
the security forces committed human rights abuses. 
 
The economy is market-based, with primary reliance on private 
enterprise, although a number of public-sector enterprises remain in key 
areas.  Growth was 1.7 percent in 1994 and nearly 3 percent in 1995.  
Citizens enjoy an advanced standard of living.  While the unemployment 
rate improved, at year's end it remained well over 20 percent.  Actual 
unemployment is lower due to the extensive underground economy.  
Nonetheless, the rate is problematically high.  The main causes are 
labor laws that tend to impede job creation and social welfare programs 
that reduce the incentive to work.  Parliament enacted a labor reform 
package in 1994, but its long-term effects on unemployment have not yet 
been fully felt. 
 
The Government generally respected the human rights of its citizens.  
However, there were problems in some areas, including beatings by 
police, an inefficient judicial system, recent revelations of past 
government surveillance of private phone calls, discrimination against 
Roma, and increasing incidences of racism and rightwing, youth-related 
violence.  The Government is taking important steps to deal with 
violence against women.  
 
The principal source of human rights abuses continued to be the 
protracted terrorism campaign waged by the Basque Fatherland and Freedom 
(ETA) separatist group, which committed killings, kidnapings, and other 
abuses.  The Government's efforts to bring terrorists to justice were 
marred by continued detainee accusations of mistreatment and recent 
allegations that the Government was behind the "Antiterrorist Liberation 
Group" (GAL) which was responsible for bombings, kidnapings, and 26 
extrajudicial killings during the early 1980's.  The Supreme Court was 
still investigating GAL at year's end.  In September 1993, two suspected 
ETA collaborators died while in police custody; the Government has not 
yet released the results of its investigation.  The remains of two 
suspected ETA members missing since 1983 were identified in March; 
investigators allege a government role in their abduction, torture and 
execution, and the courts are deciding if the Civil Guard and the 
Ministry of Justice and Interior have been involved in covering up some 
of the facts in the case.  In October a German court refused to 
extradite a suspected ETA terrorist because of suspicions that he might 
be mistreated. 
 
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 reports of political or other extrajudicial killings by 
government forces in 1995, but in March a special police investigative 
team identified two partially burned and decomposed bodies as belonging 
to two suspected ETA members who were previously listed as missing since 
1983.  Authorities are investigating allegations that the police 
illegally abducted the two in France, then tortured and executed them.  
Separate litigation is under way regarding alleged Civil Guard and 
Ministry of Justice and Interior perjury and obstruction of justice 
after the bodies were found. 
 
In August new evidence and testimony relating to the previous case led 
to the reopening of another 10-year-old case involving the death in 
police custody of a young Basque tram conductor, Mikel Zabalza, whom 
authorities took from his home for alleged collaboration with 
terrorists.  According to police testimony, Zabalza escaped--while still 
handcuffed--from three Civil Guardsmen.  His body was found in a river 
20 days later.  Investigators now suspect Zabalza might have drowned 
from having his head dunked underwater during interrogation. Litigation 
is still pending.   
 
There were no new developments in the September 1993 incident in which 
two other suspected ETA collaborators died while in police custody.  The 
matter is still under investigation. 
 
In September former Director of State Security Julian San Cristobal 
testified under oath to a Supreme Court investigating judge that the so-
called Antiterrorist Liberation Group (GAL), which targeted Basque 
separatists and was responsible for bombings, kidnapings and at least 26 
extrajudicial killings, never actually existed; GAL-attributed 
activities were actually state-sponsored covert operations.  Other 
former high-ranking security officials continue to give similar 
testimony, although differing on how high up the chain of command the 
covert activities were mandated.  Most observers expect the judicial 
hearings on GAL to take months. 
 
There continued to be frequent terrorist incidents.  Thirty-six attacks 
were attributed to ETA in 1995, resulting in 17 deaths and 5 serious 
injuries.  Actions by ETA and its affiliated groups caused millions of 
dollars worth of damage throughout Spain.  Authorities say that the 
number of ETA-related violent acts in 1995 was three times the level 
carried out between 1990 and 1994. 
 
Notably in 1995, ETA expanded its targets to include journalists and the 
Basque autonomous police force and launched a concentrated attack on 
political parties.  Fifty separate attacks on various party headquarters 
were reported through August.  In January ETA murdered the deputy mayor 
of San Sebastian (who was also the center-right Popular Party's (PP) 
provincial president).  Not since 1984 had an elected official been the 
victim of an ETA attack.  In April Jose Maria Aznar, PP President and 
principal opposition leader, narrowly escaped death in an explosion that 
blew up his car and wounded his bodyguards.  In August police arrested a 
group of ETA terrorists who planned to assassinate King Juan Carlos.  On 
December 29, police arrested a ring of ETA terrorists who planned to 
kill Basque politicians.  ETA also stepped up attacks on non-security 
personnel:  during the summer months, 9 bombs exploded at tourist 
locations, and 15 bombs were planted on roadways or railways. 
 
   b.   Disappearance 
 
Basque industrialist Jose Maria Aldaia Etxeburu was kidnaped May 9 by 
ETA terrorists, who claimed responsibility for the act on May 25.  The 
53-year-old victim's whereabouts remain unknown.  On June 27, the long-
dormant Communist terrorist group "Grapo" kidnaped businessman Publio 
Cordon.  Suspects arrested in October claim that he was released after 
payment of ransom, but he has not reemerged since his disappearance.  
(The Government forbids the payment of ransom by families of kidnap 
victims, and in some cases it has frozen the victim's 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 and in March approved Protocol 1 of the 1993 
Strasbourg European Convention for the Prevention of  
 
Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Penalties.  Nonetheless, 
there were instances of police beatings of racial and ethnic minorities 
(see Section 5).  Human rights groups filed numerous complaints of 
torture and degrading treatment against the military as well.  Detainees 
charged with terrorism invariably assert they have been abused during 
detention, and other detainees sometimes make similar charges.  In 1994 
over 100 security force members were found guilty of committing such 
abuses.  In June the U.N. Committee Against Torture rejected a complaint 
filed on behalf of a French national imprisoned in Spain for ETA-related 
activities.  The Committee ruled that the Government took seriously the 
allegations of mistreatment, investigated them, and determined them to 
be unfounded. 
 
According to the Association of Families of ETA Prisoners (Senideak), 
the 11 complaints of mistreatment that it lodged with authorities in 
1994 is significantly down from similar complaints in past years (for 
example, 80 in 1993).  The Secretary of State for Penal Affairs credits 
improvements in the way prisoners are transferred among prisons as being 
a significant factor in the decline of complaints.  In February his 
office brought three cases recommended by Senideak to the courts. 
 
While the situation of ETA prisoners appears to be improving, 
individuals, nongovernmental organizations (NGO's), and the media 
continue to accuse the Civil Guard of unprovoked brutality, particularly 
in the Basque region.  According to the Spanish Association Against 
Torture's annual report, there were 267 accusations of torture in 1994 
(latest data available), involving 448 members of the security forces, 
of whom 128 were found guilty and sentenced, and 120 were found 
innocent.  The rest are still being processed.  Key cases reaching the 
courts in 1995 included 14 Civil Guards being processed for mistreating 
an arrestee in Madrid and 8 Basque police officers charged with abusing 
4 suspected terrorists.   
 
A paper released in February by the U.N. Center for Human Rights in 
Geneva indicated that 21 Spaniards, the majority of them Basques, filed 
claims of torture or degrading treatment with that office in 1994.  The 
Government's position is that the complaints are false, and that any of 
the signs of abuse the plaintiffs might show could be the result of 
resisting arrest.  The Government also contends that doctors assigned by 
the courts examined 15 of the alleged victims, all arrested over a 3-
month period in Guipuzcoa, in the Basque country, and found no evidence 
of abuse.  Nonetheless, the Government has looked into two of the cases, 
one involving proceedings against eight Basque regional police officers 
(Ertzaintza) in the case of an August 1994 arrestee who died from the 
over-inhalation of the gas used by police to defend themselves. 
 
In December a national court admitted "the possible existence of 
torture" as it sentenced 11 terrorists.  It is unusual for a court to 
open up an appeal for torture at the time of sentencing, but the judge 
in the case noted "abundant evidence, all detailed, given not only by 
the accused but by other witnesses in the case."   
 
In October a German court refused to extradite a presumed ETA terrorist 
on the grounds that there were not sufficient guarantees that Spanish 
authorities would respect his human rights.  The court also did not 
believe that he would receive adequate medical attention while in 
custody (he has AIDS).  In December the German Supreme Court ruled in 
favor of Spain, but the suspect's lawyers are appealing the case to the 
Constitutional 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 individual rulings.  In March the 
Council of Ministers pardoned two of five civil guards whose convictions 
were upheld in September 1994 for torturing a Basque prisoner held 
incommunicado in 1983.  The two have since been promoted.  One of them 
had previously been pardoned in 1991 after having been convicted of 
torturing a local politician in 1983.  The other one was not forced to 
resign from the police force until June; he had previous convictions for 
robbery with violence, possession of illegal weapons, and bribery.  Six 
of nine Civil Guard members convicted in 1990 for torturing a suspect in 
1980 were not finally expelled from the force until May.  According to 
Amnesty International, those convicted of rights abuses customarily do 
not serve sentences of less than 1 year and 1 day.   
 
Prison conditions generally meet minimum international standards, and 
the Government permits visits by human rights monitors.  In November 
1994, a court convicted 12 officials of the model prison in Barcelona 
for applying "unnecessary severity" and causing injuries to 17 prisoners 
relating to a 1990 incident.  Two were suspended for 4 years and the 
others for 3 years.  They are appealing the verdict.  Similar 
proceedings are under way against six guards at the model prison in 
Valencia.  The guards are charged with 38 separate counts of torture, 
carrying a possible sentence of more than 10 years, for actions relating 
to a disturbance in 1992. 
 
   d.   Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 
 
The Constitution and law prohibits arbitrary arrest, detention, or 
exile, and the Government observes these prohibitions.  A suspect 
normally may not be held more than 72 hours without a hearing.  The 
Penal Code permits holding a suspected terrorist an additional 2 days 
without a hearing.   
 
The law on aliens permits detention of a person for up to 40 days prior 
to deportation, but specifies that it must not take place in a prison-
like setting. 
 
   e.   Denial of Fair Public Trial 
 
The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the 
judiciary is independent 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. 
 
The Constitution provides for the right to a fair public trial, and the 
authorities respect this right in practice.  Defendants have the right 
to be represented by an attorney (at public expense for the indigent).  
They are released on bail unless the court has reason to believe that 
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 
judge authorizes further delay; he may extend pretrial custody to 4 
years.  In practice, pretrial custody generally is less than 1 year.  
However, increasing criticism is heard in legal circles that some judges 
abuse preventive custody as a kind of anticipatory sentencing or as a 
means of eliciting testimony from uncooperative witnesses.  In cases of 
petty crime, suspects released on bail sometimes wait as long as 5 years 
for trial.  In September 25.8 percent of the prison population was in 
jail awaiting trial.  Following conviction, defendants may appeal to the 
next higher court. 
 
Courts released over two dozen persons suspected of serious crimes from 
preventive custody during the year because they reached the maximum time 
of incarceration without a trial allowed by law.  The Association of 
Victims of Terrorism and various police organs have protested the delays 
endemic in the present judicial process. 
 
A severe backlog of pending cases--in September there were some 38,000 
of all kinds (not only human rights)--and an acute shortage of judges 
have prompted calls to overhaul the judicial system.  In July Congress 
approved an ambitious project to revamp the entire Penal Code.  Many 
describe this as the most ambitious legislative project since the 
framing of the Constitution; the Government scheduled completion of the 
project for 1996.  Fulfilling a constitutional mandate, Congress voted 
in June to inaugurate a 9-person jury to preside over selected cases.  
In September candidates for jury duty were selected from census rolls 
for trials expected to be held by 1997. 
 
There were no reports of political prisoners.  
 
   f.   Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 
 
The Constitution provides for 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 present antiterrorist law 
gives discretionary authority to the Minister of Justice and Interior to 
act prior to obtaining court approval "in cases of emergency."  There 
were no complaints that the Minister abused this authority. 
 
In June the press published allegedly leaked official documents 
suggesting that the National Intelligence Agency (CESID) intercepted and 
recorded telephone conversations between 1984 and 1991.  Private calls 
made by the King, various ministers, and other prominent figures were 
apparently taped and stored at CESID.  The scandal resulted in the 
resignation of CESID's director, the Minister of Defense, and the Vice 
President.  Investigation and litigation concerning the matter 
continues. 
 
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 rights in practice.  Opposition viewpoints, 
both from political parties and other organizations, are freely aired 
and are widely reflected in the media.  Academic freedom is respected.   
 
   b.   Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 
 
The Constitution provides for these rights, and the Government respects 
them in practice.   
 
   c.   Freedom of Religion 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government 
respects this right 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 
 
The Constitution and laws provide for these rights, and the Government 
respects them in practice.  
 
The new asylum law, passed in 1994 but suspended in September that same 
year pending a hearing on its constitutionality, was reinstated with 
modifications in February.  The law brings refugee and asylum cases 
together and gives full power to the Office of Asylum and Refugees (OAR-
-a branch of the Ministry of Justice and Interior) to adjudicate them, 
but also mandates that cases can be referred to the U.N. High 
Commissioner for Refugees for appeal.  Asylum requests can be made only 
at the port of entry, and applicants stay in detention until the case is 
resolved.  Negative rulings must be returned within 72 hours, but the 
asylum seeker has an additional 24 hours in which to make an appeal.  No 
provisions are made for detainees to have access to translators or 
lawyers.  In 1994, of the 12,812 requests for asylum, the Government 
admitted 627.  In the first 9 months of 1995, the OAR reported that only 
286 asylum petitions were filed, and it granted 158, or 55 percent.  
Most of those denied were found to be economic, not political, refugees. 
 
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 by secret 
ballot for Parliament, regional, 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."  Local nationalist parties give 
political expression to regional linguistic and cultural identities; 
their influence at the national level has been increased by the 
Government's minority position in Parliament.  In the Basque country, 
nationalist parties provide a legitimate democratic alternative to 
separatist groups that advocate achieving independence through terrorist 
violence.  Sporadic examples of political violence perpetrated by 
extreme nationalist fringe groups occurred during the year.  In April a 
mayoral candidate from a center-right party for a town in Catalonia was 
threatened with death, had his motorcycle burned on his front porch, and 
had his office attacked with stones to prevent him from campaigning.  In 
the Basque country, violent protesters occupied several town halls 
following local election results that they thought were unfavorable. 
 
Women are increasing their participation in the political process.  The 
number of female candidates increased in the 1993 national elections.  
However, under the electoral system, the percentage of votes won 
determines the number of candidates elected from the party list; because 
parties place many women in the lower half of the list, the number 
elected has never reached 25 percent of the total.  In Congress, 54 of 
350 deputies are women, while in the Senate women number 32 of 256 
members.  There are three female ministers.  Most political parties have 
within their charters mandates for at least a 25-percent quota for women 
to participate in all party political endeavors.  However, few parties 
currently live up to this ideal.  In the May 28 regional and municipal 
elections, 29 percent of the center-right Popular Party's mayoral 
candidates and 24 percent of its candidates for regional parliaments 
were women. 
 
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, in Madrid, 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 provides 
for a national Ombudsman, called the "people's defender," who actively 
investigates complaints of human rights abuses by the authorities.  The 
Ombudsman operates independently from any party or government ministry, 
must be elected every 5 years by a three-fifths majority of Congress, 
and is immune from prosecution.  He has complete access to government 
institutions and documents not classified secret for reasons of national 
security.  His 1994 annual report, released in March, listed 18,594 
complaints of all kinds.  While the majority of cases pertained to 
education and social services, there was an increase in complaints of 
racism, as well as in cases of mistreatment by security forces. 
 
   Women 
 
Sexual abuse, violence, and harassment in the workplace continued to be 
areas of great concern.  According to the nongovernmental (but largely 
government-funded) Commission for Investigation of Mistreatment of 
Women, 86 women were killed by male partners in 1994.  The police 
received 16,000 complaints of abuse in 1994 (the latest figures 
available); however, experts believe that only 10 percent of violent 
acts against women each year are reported to authorities, owing in part 
to the unsympathetic attitudes of some police and judicial personnel.  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 mistreated.  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 are reluctant 
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 National Police have special sections to deal with violence against 
women, staffed by specially trained women officers.  According to a 
report from the Secretary of State for the Interior, 1,603 rapes were 
reported in 1994, 2 percent more than the year before.  The report 
attributes the increase to more reporting due to better treatment of 
victims by the police's special services sections.  Some rape cases in 
1995 were decided on the degree of the victim's physical resistance, or 
whether the rapist succeeded in vaginal penetration.   
 
In recent years women, who make up 51 percent of the population, have 
moved towards equality under the law and entered the educational system 
and work force in larger numbers:  slightly more women than men now have 
college degrees, and women outnumber men in the legal, journalism, and 
health care professions.  Growing numbers of women occupy senior 
governmental positions, among them the Ministers of Social Affairs, 
Health, and Culture.  Women make up about 30 percent of judges (a 
profession that was closed to women before 1977).  In December the 
Constitutional Court ruled that the Constitution outlaws discrimination 
based on sex in all endeavors.  Nonetheless, traditional attitudes 
continue to impose de facto discrimination.  This varies considerably 
among the regions.  In September inspectors from the Ministry of Labor 
fined a hospital in Bilbao for requiring its female nurses to wear 
skirts instead of pants while at work. 
 
The law mandates equal pay for equal work.  In October the 
Constitutional Court ruled in favor of 25 women at a Basque latex 
factory whose union complained that they had been unjustly compensated.  
The factory justified paying men more because they "work harder," lift 
more, and were more apt to work late hours.  The Court ruled that work 
done by men and women, though different, was of equal value.  However, 
according to a report by the Government's Economic and Social Council, 
for the first quarter of 1995 the median salary for women was 28 percent 
less than for men (the Ministry for Social Affairs puts the number at 20 
percent for 1994).  The same report says that women are more likely to 
have temporary contracts and part-time employment than men.   
 
Although one-third more women (mainly those under age 30) work outside 
the home than a decade ago, women make up only a third of the total work 
force.  The Government tried to instigate private sector incentives to 
diversify the workforce, but in October the European Union Justice 
Tribunal in Luxembourg ruled that quotas favoring women were 
discriminatory and illegal.  According to Ministry of Labor data, the 
unemployment rate for women is almost double that for men.  The National 
Association of Rural Women and Families testified before the Senate in 
May that although 80 percent of rural women are not formally employed, 
they aid their husbands in farming or fishing.  They do not receive the 
same social security benefits as the male head of household since they 
lack titles to the family enterprise. 
 
   Children 
 
The Government demonstrates its commitment to children's welfare through 
well-funded and easily accessed programs of education and health care.  
The Constitution obligates both the State and parents to protect 
children, whether or not born in wedlock.  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.  Numerous NGO's 
exist to further children's rights.  For example, the School Help 
Program for the Protection of Children operates a team of experts who 
work with educators to help them identify abused or abandoned children 
in the classroom.  In Madrid alone, 425 schools participated in the 
program, and the group helped identify 1,050 cases of abuse in 1994. 
 
Under the new Penal Code, children under the age of 18 are not 
considered responsible for their acts and so cannot be sent to prison.  
A 1987 signatory to the 1961 Hague Convention, Spain voted in March to 
withdraw reservations it had held previously in regard to the protection 
of minors; the treaty's provisions will now apply to all children in 
Spain, not just those who are Spanish citizens.  The Law of the Child 
bill passed by Congress in April gives legal rights of testimony for 
minors in child abuse cases; it also will oblige all citizens to act on 
cases of suspected child abuse and, for the first time, sets up rules 
regarding foreign adoptions.   
 
The law permits children of mothers who are incarcerated to reside in 
prison with the mother until age 6; a resolution passed by the Senate 
recommends that the age be reduced.  As of September, 221 children lived 
in jails. 
 
   People with Disabilities 
 
The Constitution obliges the State to provide for the adequate treatment 
and care of people with disabilities and to ensure that they are not 
deprived of the basic rights which apply to all citizens.  A law on the 
integration of disabled citizens aims to ensure fair access to public 
employment, prevent discrimination, and facilitate physical 
accessibility to public facilities and transportation.  However, such 
accessibility has not yet improved much in many areas.  In 1993 the 
autonomous community in Madrid passed local legislation requiring all 
new construction to be adapted to the needs of the disabled.  In May the 
Parliament enacted a similar but more broadly defined law.  In June the 
Senate voted to recommend that the Government adopt "the necessary means 
to better integrate the deaf into society" but did not include specific 
points of action. 
 
The 1989 Penal Code allows parents or legal representatives of a 
mentally disabled person to petition a judge to obtain permission for 
the sterilization of that person, and many courts have authorized such 
surgery.  In July 1994 the Constitutional Court held that sterilization 
of the mentally infirm does not constitute a violation of the 
Constitution.  Religious groups continue to contest this ruling. 
 
   National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities 
 
Roma, constituting about 3 percent of the population, continue to suffer 
de facto discrimination in housing, schools, and jobs.  A census 
published by the private polling firm Cires in June showed Roma to be 
among the least socially valued groups, above "drug addicts" but below 
"immigrants."  A university study released in October indicates that 
while racism is on the increase in general, anti-Roma sentiments by 
students tripled between 1986 and 1993.  Legal mechanisms exist by which 
Roma may seek redress of discrimination, and the Government has stated 
its commitment to secure equal rights and treatment for them. 
 
On January 25, the Constitutional Court denied the appeal of the ex-
mayor of Mancha Real and 17 others convicted of inciting or 
participating in a riot that led to the destruction of a Romani 
community in May 1991.  In a related case, a lower court ordered 19 
Mancha Real citizens to pay damages of $3,252 (Ptas 400,000) to four 
Romani children whom they taunted and harassed with racial epithets 
while the children traveled to and from school. 
 
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 in the region.  Spain's largest Romani organization, Gypsy 
Presence, protests the relocation and complains that the city has put up 
fences and police checkpoints that make Romani communities resemble 
prison camps.  The group's complaint that such relocation areas lack 
basic services is supported by NGO's and the press.  The city government 
denies any anti-Romani bias in its actions.  The  University of Navarra 
estimates that 12,000 people live in camps on the outskirts of Madrid 
("Chabolistas"), although the Madrid public works councillor complained 
in September that there has never been a reliable census of Chabolistas. 
 
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 1994, the 
Constitutional Court ruled against a challenge to this law, in a case 
brought by several Castilian Spanish-speakers in Catalonia who claimed 
to be discriminated against in education and employment.  Suits 
regarding specific applications of this law are still pending in various 
courts.  The regional parliaments of Galicia and Valencia are currently 
debating whether to institute language laws similar to Catalonia's. 
 
In April Parliament modified the Penal Code to make it a crime to 
"incite, publicize, or otherwise promote the abuse or discrimination of 
people or groups because of race, ethnicity, nationality, ideology, or 
religious beliefs."  No cases have yet been tried under this law, and 
human rights groups and the media continued to give increasing attention 
to the human rights of the growing numbers of illegal immigrants from 
northern and sub-Saharan Africa.  The Association of Moroccan Immigrant 
Laborers has offices in Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville to combat anti-
Moroccan racism, and Madrid city government in December created a 
special administrative office to air immigrant complaints.  
 
Only 1.3 percent of the total population is foreign-born.  Nonetheless, 
a February study by the Institute of Economic Studies suggested that the 
local job market could not absorb any more immigrants and that the rate 
of immigration should be drastically reduced.  A June Cires poll 
indicated that 26 percent of Spaniards (double that of the year before) 
think that "there are too many people from other nationalities who live 
in Spain."  The government census body (CIS) released a study in March 
for the European Consultative Commission on Racism and Xenophobia that 
indicated slightly higher numbers for Spaniards who think that the 
present rate of immigration is "too much" and showed that 53.2 percent 
of Spaniards "never had any kind of interaction" with immigrants.  
Minister of Social  
 
Services Cristina Alberdi, who issued the report, claimed that the 
numbers suggested that there was less racism in Spain than ever before 
and said that Spaniards are "very liberal and tolerant" and are "the 
least racist of Europe."  Nonetheless, race-related incidents have 
increasingly been reported in the press. 
 
The media regularly reported alleged police mistreatment of northern and 
sub-Saharan Africans, particularly Moroccans, still commonly called 
"Moors" by many Spaniards.  In September 1991 in Ibiza, a Civil Guard 
patrol, aided by municipal police, stopped and questioned two Danish-
passport carrying Muslim tourists.  Authorities claim that the two then 
became violent. Nonetheless, police kept them handcuffed and continued 
beating them at the police station.  After a month-long inquiry, the 
public prosecutor decided to postpone the case filed by the two 
complainants.  Meanwhile, the pair were charged with resisting arrest 
and causing injury.  In July 1993, they were found guilty of resisting 
arrest and sentenced to a month and a day in jail.  It was not until 
March that the court convicted the five accused security officers of 
"mistreatment" and "causing physical and mental damage."  The victims 
received an indemnity of $4,065 (Ptas 500,000).  The police were 
required to pay the medical and court costs of the victims and face a 
jail sentence "of up to 30 days." 
 
In June 1994, a Reuter photographer who happened to be passing by 
photographed Zahzouh Mohammed, an Algerian legal resident of Spain, 
being beaten by police.  The photos proved to be the only evidence in 
the Algerian's favor when a hearing of the case occurred a year later:  
police cited the two witnesses who cosigned Mohammed's complaint for 
resisting arrest and had them deported.  Three other witnesses have left 
the country, and another cannot be located. 
 
In March two illegal immigrant women from Morocco and Brazil claimed 
that they were sexually assaulted by the same guard at an internment 
center in Malaga, where they were being held prior to their deportation.  
The guard did not deny the acts, but claimed that they were consensual.  
Two other guards have been implicated in abuse and mistreatment.  A 
legal investigation is underway, but the plaintiffs meanwhile have been 
deported.  Two Latin American women complained of sexual assault while 
being held at the Madrid airport at the end of January.  The Ombudsman 
had received similar complaints in 1994, and an investigation is 
underway.  The accused spent 2 days in custody and has been released 
pending trial. 
 
In June a black Dominican was at an open air bar with his white female 
companion when police arrested him, allegedly responding to a complaint 
that he had been beating her.  The woman denied that there had been any 
problem; the Dominican reportedly resisted arrest, was beaten by the 
officers, handcuffed, and taken to the police station where he sustained 
more beatings that required hospitalization.  Two officers were charged 
with abuse, released on $8,130 (Ptas 1 million) bail, and allowed to 
report back to work.  Their case is still pending.  Police served the 
Dominican with deportation papers 36 hours after he filed his complaint. 
 
A March CIS poll indicated that "North Americans" are among the "least 
valued" ethnic groups in Spain, above "Moroccans" but below "Asians" and 
"black Africans."  U.S. citizens regularly complain of discrimination 
and abuse by authorities and, more frequently, by ordinary citizens.  
Women, African-Americans, and U.S. citizens of Latin American origin are 
those most frequently victimized.  The worst case occurred in May when a 
black American dance choreographer was badly beaten, seriously damaging 
his hand, by five youths in a Madrid metro station because of his skin 
color. 
 
There are consistent complaints that when tourists report thefts or 
assaults to local police, the crimes are often shrugged off as being 
perpetrated by non-Spaniards.  An extreme example of this occurred in 
June when a native Spanish-speaking U.S. citizen reported to the police 
a robbery involving a rental car near Madrid's international airport.  
The investigating officer told the man that the incident was an isolated 
occurrence and that he was probably robbed by "(his) own countrymen--
Sudacos" (a disparaging term used for Latinos).  When the victim 
protested that the man who robbed him spoke with a Spanish (Castillian) 
accent, the policeman wrote on the official report: "thief spoke 
Spanish, with an accent." 
 
Quasi-organized rightwing youth gangs, called "skinheads" by the local 
press, continued to commit violent attacks throughout the year, 
terrorizing minorities, assaulting law enforcement officers, and in some 
instances, committing murder.  At least four street battles, involving 
dozens of youth and police, occurred in 1995.  A government minister 
told Congress in November that skinhead violence had increased 20 
percent over the previous year.  A Ministry of Justice and Interior 
report in September indicated that 37 percent of cities with over 25,000 
inhabitants reported skinhead activities in 1995.  Barcelona led the 
list with 78 percent of the reported incidents, followed by Madrid and 
Valencia.  National police believe the skinhead population to be 2,331 
nationwide and have made 166 arrests this year.  Justice and Interior 
Minister Juan Alberto Belloch said in October that racist youth violence 
"is not very serious in quantitative terms, but this rash of violence is 
indeed dangerous." 
 
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.  All that is required to organize a union is that more than 
two workers register with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.  
Spain has over 200 registered trade unions, but one is not legally 
registered.  The Constitutional Court ruled in 1986 that it was 
ineligible, since it represents military personnel barred from 
unionization by the Constitution. 
 
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 fields is legal if its sponsors give 5-days' notice.  Any 
striking union must respect minimum-service requirements negotiated with 
the respective employer.  The Constitutional Court has interpreted the 
right to strike to include general strikes called to protest government 
policy.  Strikes occur frequently, but most are brief.  Data for 1995 
show an increase in strike activity, presumably reflecting a new 
determination by the unions to offer and accept fewer concessions while 
the Government is trying to restructure several large industries, such 
as steel and shipbuilding. 
 
Unions are free to form or join federations and 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 private and public 
sectors; in the latter they cover 60 percent of workers, notwithstanding 
that only about 10 percent of them are actually 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 abuse of these and of termination actions.  
Nonetheless, unions contend that employers discriminate 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, and the number is growing.   
 
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 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.  The daily national minimum wage rate 
is $17.00 (Ptas 2,090); for those ages 16 and 17 it is $11.25 (Ptas 
1,381).  The Government revises these rates every year in line with the 
consumer price index, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Security 
effectively enforces them.  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.  The Government is revising safety and 
health legislation to conform to European Union directives.  The 
National Institute of Safety and Health in 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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