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Human rights: Universal Periodic Review of Spain

December 8, 2014

On 21 January 2015, Spain will be reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR). It was previously reviewed by the HRC in 2010.

WHAT IS THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW?

The UPR is the main mechanism used by the HRC to assess the human rights situation of every state. States are reviewed every four years. If you’d like to learn more about it, watch our webinar on the HRC and the UPR.

The NGO panel for the UPR pre-session on Spain

The NGO panel for the UPR pre-session on Spain

Before each review, Geneva-based NGO UPR-Info organises a pre-session for civil society organisations (CSOs). This gives them the opportunity to share their assessment of the human rights situation and accomplishments in the country under review. It also gives the opportunity for CSOs to suggest recommendations that UN Member States can endorse, since only Member States participate in the UPR itself.

WILPF’s Human Rights programme monitored the pre-session on Spain, and WILPF Spain took the floor to share its recommendations.

SEEKING THE TRUTH ON PAST HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

Both Amnesty International Spain and WILPF Spain expressed great concern over the impunity and the lack of investigations on the crimes and violations committed during the Franco regime.

Amnesty International denounced the lack of collaboration of the Spanish authorities with the investigations in Argentina, and urged Spain to investigate these past crimes under international law and thus bring truth, justice and reparations to the victims.

WILPF Spain suggested that a truth commission be created and implemented in order to investigate these specific violations.

MIGRANTS’ RIGHTS

One of the major concerns regarding human rights in Spain is the treatment of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers. According to the Human Rights Institute of Catalonia, it is urgent that Spain puts an end to collective and immediate expulsions, and ensures a free and universal healthcare system for all residents in the Spanish territory.

Generally speaking, all Spanish residents’ economic, social and cultural rights should be guaranteed and protected. Indeed, most NGOs present at this pre-session highlighted the fact that the situation in Spain has drastically changed since the previous review in 2010. At the previous UPR, economic, social and cultural rights were barely mentioned, while there is now an urgent need to address and prioritise them.

WILPF’S RECOMMENDATIONS

In our recommendations, we addressed a broad range of topics. Among others, WILPF Spain denounced the decrease in quality of care services to women victims of gender based violence, and urged the Spanish authorities to assign sufficient resources for comprehensive protection measures.

WILPF Spain stressed that if budget cuts affect human rights, and women’s rights in particular, the economic recession is not the only reason behind Spain’s lack of action. There is also a lack of political will from the Spanish authorities.

In addition, WILPF expressed concern on the high judicial fees that impede equal access to justice, and we emphasised the necessity to strictly control arms sales to countries where there is risk of weapons being used to violate human rights.

We shared these recommendations widely with states representatives in Geneva, so we now hope that some of them will endorse our recommendations during the actual review of Spain that will take place in January 2015.

For more information, read WILPF’s recommendations for the UPR of Spain.

Para más información, lee las recomendaciones de WILPF para el EPU de España.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW?

The UPR of Spain will take place on 21 January 2015. WILPF’s Human Rights programme will attend the session and will keep you posted on the outcome of the review. Don’t forget to keep an eye on our website and to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To get the latest news directly to your inbox, subscribe to our Human Rights programme newsletter.

In the meantime, spread the word about the UPR mechanism!

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