Summary: UN holds Spanish state responsible for death of seven-year-old girl killed by her father

Madrid, 4th August 2014: The UN has today condemned the Spanish state for failing to protect a seven-year-old girl killed by her father. This is the first time that Spain has been condemned by an international body in a case of domestic violence.

Angela Gonzalez, who brought the case to the UN with the help of SRT grantee Women’s Link Worldwide, separated from her husband in 1999 after several years of abuse. She filed more than 30 complaints against her husband and went to court several times to try and put a stop to his threats and harassment. This was not successful, and Angela’s daughter Andrea was shot dead by her father in 2003 while on an arranged custody visit. Her father then committed suicide. Angela appealed unsuccessfully to the Spanish state to assume responsibility for her daughter’s murder. Having exhausted all other avenues, she went to the UN.

In its judgement, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) ruled that Andrea’s death was a result of state negligence.

Women’s Link attorney Paloma Soria, who worked on Angela’s case, said, “[Angela] went to court to denounce all episodes of violence, harassment and persecution, but all systems failed. 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”.

Spain now has six months to submit a report to CEDAW setting out the steps it has taken to comply with the committee’s decision.

Text of the UN judgement from Women’s Link’s website (currently in Spanish only):

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