The European Court of Human Rights condemns Spain for failing to investigate racist and sexist acts of violence by police officers in Beauty Solomon’s case

Madrid, July 24th 2012 - The facts of this case date from July 2005, when Beauty Solomon, a woman of Nigerian descent, resident in Spain, was assaulted by national police officers in Palma de Mallorca. While purporting to carry out an identity check, the officers struck her with a baton and shouted discriminatory insults such as “black slut.”

After exhausting domestic remedies, Women’s Link Worldwide brought the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2008 in light of the failure by all national courts to investigate the facts of the case. This week, the ECtHR condemned the Spanish State for violating Beauty Solomon’s right to be free from cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment by failing to comply with the obligation to effectively investigate the racist and sexist violent acts alleged. This is the first decision by the ECtHR that recognizes the situation of extreme vulnerability of black women in Spain.

“The Court has condemned the discrimination by the police officers that assaulted and insulted Beauty Solomon as well as the failure of various Spanish courts to investigate her complaints. We are extremely happy for Beauty and are pleased that justice has been done. 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 Viviana Waisman, Executive Director of Women’s Link.

In recognition of the suffering and humiliation that such violence and discrimination causes, the Court ordered Spain to pay Ms. Solomon 30,000 Euros in non-pecuniary damages. This is one of the largest sums awarded by the ECtHR in a case of police violence and discrimination.

Beauty Solomon said “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.”


For more information:
-          Women’s Link’s blog (Only in Spanish)
-          Decision Beauty Solomon vs. Spain (Only in French)
-          Commented summary of the decision (Only in Spanish)
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