• 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.


  • 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


  • Feb 25, 2015
    On the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa stands a graveyard filled with simple wooden crosses. We don’t know the names and stories of those buried there, except that they perished at sea trying to reach Europe, fleeing conflict in Syria, human-rights abuses in Somalia and Eritrea, poverty in West Africa.
  • Feb 20, 2015
    “Aman.” a 29-year-old Eritrean, had just described his arduous journey to Europe when I heard the news about hundreds of deaths in the Mediterranean.
  • Feb 4, 2015
    There has been little progress toward justice for the drowning deaths of 15 migrants in waters off a Spanish enclave in North Africa on February 6, 2014.
  • Jan 29, 2015
    European Union leaders during 2014 were too often willing to sideline human rights at home when expedient in a year marked by success for populist and Eurosceptic parties in European Parliament elections and beyond, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2015. It highlights developments in 10 EU member states, EU human rights foreign policy, and Union-wide developments on migration and asylum, discrimination and intolerance, and counterterrorism.
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Dec 10, 2014
  • Dec 1, 2014
    In the first six months of 2014, banks reclaimed over 26,500 homes. The dream of owning one’s own home has, for many, turned into a nightmare of foreclosures, evictions, and over-indebtedness.
  • Nov 24, 2014
    The Spanish Congress should amend a deeply flawed public security bill that would curb spontaneous protest and formalize abusive expulsions of asylum seekers. The congressional committee on home affairs is due to adopt the bill on November 25, 2014, after which the bill will go the plenary for debate and vote in the coming days.
  • Nov 6, 2014
    The undersigned organizations are writing to express their grave concern in relation to proposed changes to Spanish immigration law that would formalize the documented practice of summary expulsions to Morocco from Spain’s enclaves in North Africa. These practices and the proposed amendment violate not only Spain’s obligations under international human rights law but also European Union law, in particular the Asylum Procedures Directive, the Schengen Borders Code, the Return Directive, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
  • Nov 4, 2014
    The undersigned organizations are writing to urge you to vote against proposed changes to Spanish immigration law that would facilitate summary returns from Spain’s enclaves in North Africa in violation of European and international human rights law.