Spain Spain


United Nations, General Assembly (2013), Report of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance Mutuma Ruteere. Addendum. Visit to Spain, pp. 9-11, available at:

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Type of publication


Geographical coverage


Area/location of interest

Not applicable - national level

Type of Institution

UN body


UN Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

Main Thematic Focus

Racism & xenophobia Discrimination Ethnic profiling Hate speech

Target Population


Key findings

The report, which results from a visit made to Spain last January by the Special Rapporteur pays special attention to three issues. The exclusion of irregular migrants from the public health system through the withdrawal of the health card as a new phenomenon in Spain in the framework of the recent health reform adopted by the current Spanish government on grounds of the need of taking austerity measures in the context of the current acute economic crisis.
This phenomenon is considered by the Special Rapporteur as a “regrettable development” so in his opinion such health reform should be reviewed to ensure that access to healthcare services is provided to all migrants regardless of their migration status.
Also, the Special Rapporteur paid attention to the varied shortcomings of the Detention Centres for Foreign Nationals (mostly lack of internal regulations, lack of information for migrants’ on a number of issues, barriers to health access, poor living conditions, isolation and scarce contact with the outside world by a number of migrants and cases of mistreatment and torture as well as their overall appearance and performance as prisons).
Finally, racial profiling in police identity checks is a persistent and pervasive problem. Despite this acknowledgement by the General Directorate of the Spanish Police that abusive, arbitrary and unnecessary foreigners’ identifications would be avoided, this practice has continued after the circular.

Methodology (Qualitative/Quantitative and exact type used, questionnaires etc)


Sample details and representativeness


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