The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) censured Spain for its failure to investigate racist and sexist acts of violence by police officers. Officers arrested a woman of Nigerian descent, on the pretext of checking her identity in Madrid in July of 2005, but they proceeded to beat her while shouting insults focused on her race and gender.
After exhausting all of her domestic remedies, the victim turned to Women’s Link Worldwide
, a bilingual NGO focused on gender equality and human rights, who helped the woman bring her case to the ECHR in 2008.
“The Court has condemned the discrimination by the police officers that assaulted and insulted [the survivor] as well as the failure of various Spanish courts to investigate her complaints,” Viviana Waisman, Executive Director of Women’s Link, said. “We hope that this decision will lead to the protection from violence and the prosecution of discrimination by the relevant authorities regardless of who the victim is declared.”
In addition to condemning Spain for its inadequate response, the ECHR ordered the state to pay the victim 30,000 euros, one of the largest sums they have awarded for a police violence or discrimination case.
“I am very happy that finally justice had been done. I am grateful to Women’s Link. I hope this decision helps put an end to this type of human rights violations,” the victim said.