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    March 03, 2020

    Following the announcement by the Spanish government today of a new bill on comprehensive responses to sexual violence, including a reform of the legal definition of rape, Amnesty International’s Senior Campaigner on Gender Monica Costa Riba said:

    “We welcome the step taken by the government to improve the State’s responses to sexual violence in Spain. This is a victory for survivors of rape and for the countless women, campaigners and activists who raised so much awareness of the need for reforms in law, policy and practice through their protests and street actions.

    “The proposed change of the legal definition of rape will make Spain become the tenth country out of the 31 analysed by Amnesty in Europe, which clearly define sex without consent as rape in line with international human rights law and standards. It is high time that other countries in Europe follow suit, and through improving their laws and policies, advance societal understanding of rape, consent and sexual autonomy.”

    August 08, 2019

    More than 30 children, including two babies, and nearly 90 men and women stranded at sea in searing temperatures, must be immediately allowed to dock, said Amnesty International, as the stand-off between the Italian, Maltese and Spanish authorities and a NGO rescue ship enters its second week.

    Despite mounting concerns for their well-being, Italian and Maltese authorities are refusing a port where they could safely be disembarked. Spanish authorities have yet to formally request help from European institutions to mediate a solution.

    “After a week stranded at sea in blistering heat, these women, men and children who have risked their lives to escape human rights abuses in Libya should be immediately disembarked either in Malta or Italy,” said Maria Serrano, Amnesty International’s Senior Researcher on Migration.

    “Despite mounting concerns for the well-being of those on board, politicians are shamelessly breaching their responsibilities under international law by refusing to grant a safe port to people who could face torture if returned to Libya and who are exhausted and in need of protection and care.”

    June 21, 2019

    Responding to news that five men known as the "Wolf Pack" have been sentenced to 15 years in prison for rape by Spain's Supreme Court, Massimo Moratti, Deputy Director of the European Regional Office said:

    “We are delighted that justice has finally prevailed in this horrific case and that the rights of the survivor have been upheld. But the journey to get here has been long, and caused the woman involved further unnecessary and avoidable suffering.

    “This case shows exactly why it’s so crucial for Spain’s Penal Code to be amended. Sex without consent is rape; it’s that simple. The assumption in law that a victim gives their consent because they have not resisted is deeply problematic and undermines access to justice, especially since “involuntary paralysis” or “freezing” has been recognized by experts as a common response to sexual assault.

    September 17, 2018

    States that are still supplying arms to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition risk going down in history as being complicit in war crimes in Yemen, Amnesty International said today, as the Spanish government prepares to make a major decision on whether to suspend the transfer of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia.

    On 4 September, the Spanish government announced that it would cancel the sale of 400 laser-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia, following an international outcry over an airstrike on a school bus in Yemen which killed 40 children.

    The Spanish government then reversed this decision on 12 September, citing the need to “honour a contract”. All deals with Saudi Arabia, made under the previous Spanish government, have been under review for the past few weeks and a final decision will be taken on Wednesday 19 September on whether to revoke existing licences and suspend new ones.

    May 10, 2018

    Amnesty International has verified through cases it has documented that the Public Prosecutor’s Office (PPO) is not fulfilling its obligation to pursue investigations into excessive use of force on 1 October  by state security forces, specifically members of a special tactical unit of the National Police and the Civil Guard.

    In a report presented today, 1-O en Cataluña: Obstáculos para la investigación del uso excesivo de la fuerza (1 October in Catalonia: Obstacles in the investigation of excessive use of force), Amnesty International shows that, faced with the efforts of various courts to establish the truth of what happened, the PPO is taking steps that obstruct the proceedings and encourage the disqualification of complaints. The PPO has even shown a lack of interest in the process, complicating the efforts of judicial authorities to clarify what happened.

    For example, the PPO tried to present acts of violence by demonstrators as fundamental evidence that should preclude investigations into excessive use of force, presenting videos showing the participation of protesters in incidents with security forces.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    October 18, 2017

    On 16 October, a judge of the Audiencia Nacional ordered the pre-trial detention of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, the presidents, respectively, of the pro-Catalan independence organisations the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural. They have been charged with sedition under article 544 of the Spanish Criminal Code in connection with protests they organized in Barcelona on 20 and 21 September. The protests opposed and sought to obstruct an operation conducted by law enforcement and judicial authorities in several governmental buildings to prevent the organization of the referendum on the independence of Catalonia on 1 October.

    The police and judicial operation conducted on 20 and 21 September was based on a judicial order issued by a court in Barcelona and involved the searches of several official governmental buildings. On 7 September, the Constitutional Court had ruled that the referendum was illegal and against the Spanish Constitution.

    October 03, 2017

    AI observers confirm the dangerous and inappropriate use of riot control equipment, including beating of defenceless people offering no resistance, and calls for a swift, thorough and impartial investigation into the events

    Amnesty International has directly confirmed on the ground that members of the National Police force's Police Intervention Unit (UIP) and Civil Guard officers used excessive and disproportionate force against demonstrators who were passively resisting in the streets and at the entrances to polling stations. The security forces were acting on the ruling of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC), which ordered them to prevent the holding of a referendum. The Ministry of the Interior reports that the security forces intervened and shut down 92 polling stations. According to information from the Generalitat (the government of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia), there were a total of 2,315 polling stations, 400 of which were shut down by court order.

    October 02, 2017

    Responding to clashes between police and protesters around today's Catalan referendum, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia Director said:

    "Spanish police have clearly been obstructed in the exercise of their duties at numerous polling stations today, but there is plenty of footage to suggest that police officers have used excessive and disproportionate force at at least some of them. With tensions running high, it is essential that both Spanish law and international human rights law is respected.

    “Spanish police must avoid the excessive use of force; and whenever the lawful use of force is unavoidable, they must use it with restraint and in proportion to the seriousness of the law enforcement objective.”

    A delegation of Amnesty International researchers has been deployed in Catalonia throughout the day to monitor the respect for human rights. The organisation will publish more detailed findings tomorrow.


    For more information please contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations 613-744-7667 ext 236 or

    August 18, 2017


    · The organization condemns the attacks in both Barcelona and Cambrils in which at least 14 people have died.

    · Deliberate attacks against civilians are a crime under international law.

    Madrid / Barcelona: At least 13 people died and more than 100 were injured yesterday, 17 August, when a van deliberately ploughed into crowds of people in Las Ramblas in Barcelona, one of the town's main tourist areas.

    According to official sources, several hours later, in the early hours of 18 August, another attack took place in Cambrils (Tarragona) which left at least one person dead. According to reports, the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan Regional Police) thwarted the second attack when five people were shot while attempting to carry out a similar attack to the one in Barcelona. According to official sources, the five people, who are confirmed dead, were wearing fake explosive devices.

    August 17, 2017

    Amnesty International strongly condemns the attack that left numerous people dead and wounded on Thursday 17 August on La Rambla in Barcelona. The organization expresses its solidarity with the victims and their families and urges the authorities to conduct a swift and thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice.


    “We send our full support and solidarity to the victims of this despicable act at this difficult time”, announced Esteban Beltrán, Director of AI Spain. “We must continue to stand up to hate. These types of attacks demonstrate a complete disregard for the most fundamental principles of humanity,” he added.


    February 10, 2015

    Proposed amendments to the Spanish criminal code that would expand the range of crimes defined as “terrorism” to include vague language and overly broad categories of offences would infringe people’s basic human rights, said Amnesty International ahead of a parliamentary debate today.

    “The proposed definition of terrorism includes so many crimes that it is rendered virtually meaningless. The parliament should reject any proposals that would violate basic rights,” said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counter-terrorism and human rights.

    “It would seem that anything from certain forms of expression and association to hacking and travelling could be labelled and prosecuted as terrorism. The suggested definition is overly broad and some elements so vague that even a seasoned lawyer would have trouble knowing for certain what would constitute a terrorist act.”

    September 23, 2014

    The abandoning of a draconian anti-abortion bill that threatened the health, dignity and lives of women and girls in Spain is a step in a positive direction, Amnesty International said today.

    “We’re glad that the Spanish Prime Minister has finally scuppered this retrogressive anti-abortion bill, but the fact remains it should never have been on the legislature’s books in the first place,” said Esteban Beltrán, Director at Amnesty International Spain.

    “The government must not control decisions women and girls make about their lives and health, and fully implement the recommendations by international human rights bodies.”

    The proposed bill presented a series of obstacles to accessing a safe and legal abortion. For example, a woman or girl seeking an abortion would have to obtain two certificates from doctors at different centres, confirming any risks to the life and health of the woman and the foetus. She would also be obliged to receive counselling and information on non-medical issues, and then to wait seven days during a “reflection” period.

    April 24, 2014

    The excessive use of force by Spanish police and plans to strengthen repressive legislation are a damning indictment of the Spanish government’s determination to crush peaceful protest, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    “The Spanish government is using the full force of the law to suffocate legitimate peaceful protest,” said Jezerca Tigani, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Program Director.

    “The police have repeatedly used batons and rubber bullets against demonstrators, injuring and maiming protestors and by-standers alike. The police act with complete impunity, while peaceful demonstrators and leaders of social movements are continually harassed, stigmatized, beaten, sometimes arrested to face criminal charges, imprisonment and fines.”

    Amnesty International’s report, Spain: The right to protest under threat, exposes violations by police against demonstrators, the lack of accountability for these violations and the determination of the Spanish authorities to strengthen repressive legislation.

    February 19, 2014

    Spain must refrain from forcibly returning Aleksandr Pavlov to Kazakhstan, Amnesty International said today, shortly after learning of the Spanish government’s decision to authorize his extradition.

    “The Spanish government has decided to extradite Aleksandr Pavlov to Kazakhstan despite credible evidence that he would risk torture upon his return. If they send Aleksandr Pavlov back, they will violate Spain’s international legal obligations,” said Julia Hall, criminal justice expert at Amnesty International.

    “The government must do the right thing and reverse this decision.”

    Aleksandr Pavlov, a 37-year-old asylum seeker in Spain and Kazakhstani national, is currently in detention in the capital city of Madrid.

    According to information received by Amnesty International from different sources, a decision authorising the extradition was taken by the Council of Ministers on 14 February. The decision has not yet been made public.


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