Concluding Observations by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: Spain. 23/03/2000. CERD/C/56/Misc.37/Rev.3. (Concluding Observations/Comments)

56th session 23 March 2000
6-24 March 2000 UNEDITED VERSION

Concluding Observations by the Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination


1. The Committee considered the fourteenth and fifteenth periodic reports of Spain, submitted as one document (CERD/C/338/Add.6), at its 1383rd and 1384th meetings (CERD/C/SR/1383 and 1384), held on 13 and 14 March 2000. At its 1396th meeting, held on 23 March 2000, it adopted the following concluding observations.

A. Introduction

2. The Committee welcomes the reports submitted by the State party and the additional oral information provided by the delegation, although it was considered that numerous and voluminous annexes to the report in Spanish prevented members from having easy access to essential information. The Committee has been encouraged by the attendance of a delegation composed of representatives of many Government departments and expresses its appreciation for the frank and constructive responses of its members to the questions asked.

3. The Committee acknowledges that the State party has addressed some of the concerns and recommendations of the Committee's previous concluding observations. However, the new report is an updating report describing developments in the interim period, rather than the comprehensive one that the Committee requested. Moreover, the new report does not conform fully with the Committee's reporting guidelines.

B. Positive aspects

4. The Committee notes the recent enactment of the Organic Law No. 4/2000 on Rights and Freedoms of Foreigners, the implementation of which will be closely follow with great interest, particularly with respect to regularisation schemes for illegal immigrants and the establishment of integration programmes.

5. The Committee encourages the continued implementation and evaluation of the results of the "Gypsy Development Programme" initiated by the Government in 1989 and conducted in cooperation with Roma associations. It notes with particular interest the favourable effects in the field of housing as a result of measures designed to promote non-discrimination of Roma.

C. Concerns and recommendations

6. The Committee notes with concern that remarkably few cases before national courts have been identified as incidents of racial discrimination, despite a recognized general increase in juvenile violence, including attacks on foreigners by extremist groups, neo-Nazi movements and gangs. It also notes that violence against certain foreigners often results in judicial proceedings alleging assault, unlawful detention and property damage, and that the racial aspect of such acts is not retained. With reference to article 4 of the Convention, the Committee recommends the State party to register, for inclusion in the next periodic report, statistics of allegations of racially-motivated, as well as related offences, their investigation, and the punishment of the guilty.

7. The Committee is concerned about the recent incidents of violence against persons of Moroccan nationality in El Ejido in the region of Almerķa and is further concerned about reports that the underlying socio-economic problems which provoked these events prevail also in other regions of the country. The Committee therefore recommends the State party to take measures to resolve the underlying causes of tension and unrest, not merely as actions of emergency but as part of a long-term strategy to combat racial discrimination and violence so as to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. The Committee also wishes to receive further information related to the criminal proceedings brought against individuals involved in the incidents, and to what extent convictions were directly linked to acts of racial discrimination.

8. The Committee notes that no easily accessible information was provided with regard to the status of the inhabitants of Ceuta and Melilla. The State party is requested to provide information on their status and on whether they enjoy, without discrimination, the rights listed in article 5 of the Convention.

9. With reference to article 5(e) of the Convention, the Committee expresses concern about reports indicating the prevailing discrimination against persons of foreign origin, particularly in the field of employment. The Committee wishes to receive further information on measures taken by the State party to ensure the practical enjoyment of persons belonging to ethnic or national minorities of the rights to work, to equal opportunities of promotion and career development, to education and to housing.

10. While noting the positive measures taken by the State party to ensure the non-discrimination of Roma, the Committee expresses concern over the high drop-out rates and registered absences of Roma children in primary schools, as well as the low number of Roma completing higher education. The State party is requested to provide information about measures undertaken and foreseen to ensure the right to equal education opportunities for the Roma minority.

11. With reference to previously expressed concern about reports of racist attitudes on the part of the police and Civil Guard officers, the State party is requested to provide, in its next report, information on any evaluation made of the effectiveness of non-discrimination training schemes for these officers.

12. The State party is invited, in its next report, to provide further information on the following issues: (a) the ethnic composition of the population and the principal socio-economic situation of each group; (b) action to effective implementation of the Organic Law No.4/2000 on Rights and Freedoms of Foreigners; (c) results of the regularisation schemes for illegal immigrants, and (d) measures taken to ensure that laws governing the right to education and linguistic standardization in the Autonomous Communities are not discriminatory in effect.

13. The Committee recommends that the State party ratify the amendments to article 8, paragraph 6, of the Convention, adopted on 15 January 1992 at the Fourteenth Meeting of State Parties to the Convention.

14. While noting that the State party has made the declaration provided for in article 14 of the Convention, the Committee recommends the State party to review its reservation under article 14, which imposes a restrictive deadline of three months instead of six after the exhaustion of domestic remedies, for the submission of communications to the Committee.

15. The Committee recommends that the State party's reports be made readily available to the public from the time they are submitted and that the Committee's observations on them be similarly publicised.

16. The Committee recommends that the State party's next periodic report, which was due on 4 January 2000, be a comprehensive report and that it address the points raised in the present observations.

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