SPAIN: UN condemns state for negligence in murder of seven-year-old girl

[4 August 2014] - 

The United Nations blamed the Spanish state of failing to protect a 7-year-old girl who was killed by her father. The UN condemned Spain and asked the state to compensate the mother, to investigate the failures causing the tragedy, and to report on actions taken to comply.

In 1999, Angela Gonzalez separated from her husband after several years of abuse. She filed more than 30 complaints against the aggressor and sought protection from the courts for herself and her daughter, Andrea R. Between 1999 and 2001, Angela repeatedly went to court seeking measures for restraining the abuser in order to put an end to threats, harassment and persecution against her and her daughter. However, that did not prevent the father from murdering the girl in an arranged visit in 2003. The father killed Andrea with three bullets in Arroyomolinos (Madrid). She was only seven years old, according to El País (in Spanish).
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) clearly ruled that the State's negligence was responsible for the death of the girl.

"Angela relied on the Justice System. She went to court to denounce all episodes of violence, harassment and persecution, but all systems failed", said Paloma Soria, one of the lawyers who handled Angela’s demand through the Non-Government Organization “Women's Link Worldwide”. "In campaigns against gender violence, victims are told to report and seek help. Angela's case shows that it is important to have a coordinated response from the State. Nevertheless, the judicial authorities did not act because they considered that such a measure hindered the 'right' of the aggressor to visitation with his daughter", said Soria.


On April 24, 2003, the body of the dead girl turned up next to her father, who committed suicide. With the death of the alleged murderer the criminal responsibility was declared extinct. Angela appealed unsuccessfully claiming on the State to assume responsibility. After exhausting all resources, she went to the UN. Now, the decision of the international body, the first condemning Spain for a case of domestic violence, has adjudicated blame on the Spanish State.


After eleven years of struggle, Angela is satisfied. She believes that the UN decision could help "change things" in Spain "and that no other mother and no other child will go through the same situation." In Spain, in 2014 at least 33 women have died victims of violence from their partners.





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