AMNESTY International slammed Spanish prosecutors for their failure to launch proper investigations into the deaths of tens of thousands of elderly residents in nursing homes as the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The human rights organisation presented a devastating report on Monday, January 31, showing evidence that investigations had been dropped without even contacting staff of families to find out what happened.

The group said that during spring 2020, the prosecutor’s office had made no effort to understand or clarify how so many deaths were allowed to happen, with almost 90% of investigations being shelved.

Only 451 of 517 cases have been sufficiently looked into, but with minimal effort being made to clarify the facts. 

In the 127 cases that Amnesty clarified in detail, none of the relatives of the victims were interviewed and in many cases there was no inspection of the residences. 

The report concluded that Spain’s Attorney General’s Office had failed to comply with its obligations and had not met international standards

The coronavirus took a terrible toll on Spain’s elderly population with three out of four deaths recorded in the spring of 2020 occurring at elderly residential homes, according to an analysis published by EL PAÍS.

“More than 35,000 people died in the residences and yet there is no person held responsible for what happened,” said Esteban Beltrán, director of Amnesty International Spain in a statement released on Monday.

“We cannot simply take for granted that the numbers of deaths in residences are inevitable and due to the pandemic, nor can we attribute all the responsibility to those who cared for our elderly people, because although there are multiple factors that explain these deaths, the measures that taken in the face of a massive violation of human rights were not adequate and their relatives have the right to know the truth”.


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