This factsheet examines the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights in Spain since the economic crisis took hold of the country in 2007. It highlights the negative impact of the economic crisis – and government responses to it – on the enjoyment of the right to work and to decent working conditions in Spain, where a quarter of the working population and over half of young persons are unemployed. As the data shows, this has put in peril the ability of much of the population to exercise other rights, particularly the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to affordable housing.
Deterioration in a range of economic and social rights indicators, including a sharp rise in levels of poverty and income inequality, combined with drastic cuts in social spending, point to retrogression in the abovementioned rights, with disproportionate impacts on the lives of those most vulnerable. Disaggregated data highlight stark disparities on grounds of gender, age, nationality, geography and socio-economic status.
Although these rights are guaranteed in the Spanish Constitution as “guiding principles” of public policy, the budgetary and legislative reforms of the past two years have been undertaken without prior assessment of their human rights impact or their distributional effects on particularly vulnerable groups, both in Spain and in countries receiving Spanish development assistance. Of particular concern is the deterioration in the economic, social and cultural rights of children and young people, and the long-term generational effects that this could have.