• Spanish authorities summarily expel migrants to Morocco from the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, sometimes employing excessive force. Police fired rubber bullets at migrants trying to reach Ceuta by sea in February. At least 15 drowned. The government adopted limited reforms to block some evictions on defaulted mortgages, improve safeguards in court cases involving foreclosures and mortgage debt, and allow for debt forgiveness, with advocates arguing for broader measures. The government announced a contentious draft law to restrict access to abortion only in cases of rape and when the woman’s physical or mental health is at risk, and another to restrict spontaneous public assemblies through steep fines. Congress adopted reforms restricting prosecutions for crimes against humanity under universal jurisdiction.

  • European Union flags fly in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. © Reuters 2012
    Amid economic crisis and much contested austerity measures in many member states, discrimination, racism, and homophobia remained serious problems in European Union member states.  Roma, migrants, and asylum seekers are particularly marginalized. The Council of the European Union acknowledged for the first time that more is needed to ensure human rights violations within EU borders are adequately addressed, with an ongoing policy debate focused on improving responses to rule of law crises. Meanwhile, abusive practices around the EU continued without adequate action by EU institutions and member states.

Reports

  • Impact of Spain’s Housing Crisis on Vulnerable Groups
  • No End to Unaccompanied Migrant Children’s Institutionalization in Canary Islands Emergency Centers
  • Spain’s Push to Repatriate Unaccompanied Children in the Absence of Safeguards

Spain