In response to a perceived debt crisis in Spain, the European Union has imposed harsh austerity policies that have thrown the Spanish economy into a tailspin. Unemployment levels are the highest in Europe: 24.4% over-all and 50% for those under age 25. As unemployment grows, consumer demand falls, causing more businesses to fail, leading to further layoffs. Bankruptcies, evictions, and capital flight have reached record levels. Young people with skills are fleeing the country—350,000 in the past four years. And increasingly, senior citizens share their social security and pensions, however meager, with their children and grandchildren. The Spanish people are "paying for dishes they didn't break"—a refrain commonly heard in the streets and printed on protest signs.
The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR) is a national organization with an international outlook examining racist, anti-Semitic, white nationalist, and far-right social movements, analyzing their intersection with civil society and social policy, educating the public, and assisting in the protection and extension of human rights through organization and informed mobilization.