At its 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th meetings, held on 1,
2 and 3 May 1996, the Committee considered the third
periodic report of Spain concerning the rights covered
by articles 1 to 15 of the Covenant (E/1994/104/Add.5),
as well as the written replies to the additional questions
drawn up by the pre-sessional working group, and adopted,
at its 22nd meeting, held on 14 May 1996, the following
The Committee expresses its satisfaction at the detailed
report submitted by the State party and the substantial
additional information supplied in writing, as well
as the excellent dialogue established between its
members and the large delegation of experts, including
women, representing the ministries concerned.
However, the Committee regrets that the Government
did not cover articles 7, 8, 9 and 12 of the Covenant
in its report. Nevertheless, the Committee is satisfied
with the oral information concerning those articles
provided during the dialogue, which demonstrates the
Government's firm resolve to implement all the provisions
of the Covenant.
B. Positive aspects
The Committee congratulates Spain on the many steps,
in constitutional law and otherwise, it has taken
to promote the realization of the economic, social
and cultural rights set forth in the Covenant. It
notes with satisfaction the particular efforts the
Government has made to address unemployment in various
forms, the positive action taken to enable adults
to pursue academic studies, even through distance
learning, the improvement of the status of motherhood
and fatherhood and the special attention paid to protecting
the rights of elderly persons.
C. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation
of the Covenant
The Committee notes the difficulties currently being
experienced by Spain as a result of structural changes
and the economic recession. The decentralization and
privatization of some social services, persistent
large-scale unemployment and budget cuts affect the
whole population, and especially the most vulnerable
D. Principal subjects of concern
The Committee notes with concern that despite the
new legislative provisions in force, discrimination
continues against women with regard to the right to
equal treatment at work, the right to equal pay and
access to education.
The Committee also notes with concern that as a result
of the economic recession, budget cuts have been made
in the social welfare sector and have had a particular
impact on the most vulnerable groups in society. In
this regard, the Committee emphasizes the importance
of the views expressed in its General Comment No.
3 that even in times of severe resource constraints,
whether caused by a process of adjustment, of economic
recession, or by other factors, the vulnerable members
of society can, and indeed must, be protected by the
adoption of relatively low-cost targeted programmes.
The Committee further notes with concern that the
unemployment rate in Spain is extremely high, and
particularly so for women and young people.
The Committee notes the persistence of a worrying
rate of illiteracy, especially among women and in
certain southern regions.
The Committee notes with great concern the growth
in the number of acts of discrimination and racism
against foreigners in Spain, particularly directed
at groups from North Africa, asylum seekers, illegal
workers and the Romany (Gypsy) population.
The Committee notes that the central Government does
not systematically collect disaggregated national
statistics concerning the rights covered by the Covenant,
and that consequently it does not always possess adequate
data to enable it to evaluate the application of the
Covenant fully and appropriately.
The Committee notes that the public as a whole and
the media are still largely ignorant of the Covenant's
provisions, with the result that the vast majority
of the population is unaware of the commitments entered
into by the Spanish authorities with regard to economic,
social and cultural rights.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
The Committee recommends that the Spanish authorities
continue their efforts to ensure effective equality
between men and women, in particular with regard to
access to education and jobs and equal pay for equal
The Committee recommends that the State party take
special steps to protect the most vulnerable groups
in society as effectively as possible against the
impact of the budget cuts currently affecting the
The Committee encourages the Government of Spain to
continue to devise and apply all possible measures
to curb the present rate of unemployment. In that
context, it suggests that the State party should retain
the integration of women and young people in the labour
market as a priority policy.
The Committee encourages the Spanish authorities to
take all necessary steps to reduce the level of illiteracy,
which particularly affects women and certain population
groups living in particular parts of the country.
The Committee urges the Government to take all appropriate
preventive and penal measures to combat effectively
all forms of racial discrimination which particularly
affects groups from North Africa, asylum seekers,
illegal workers and the Romany (Gypsy) population.
The Committee recommends that the State party should
take the necessary steps systematically to collect
and analyse disaggregated national statistics relating
to the provisions of the Covenant, in order to have
an effective tool for monitoring the realization of
The Committee recommends that the State party's report
and the concluding observations should be extensively
publicized within the country, especially through
the media, the universities and interested non-governmental