Human rights around the world

Millions of people demand respect for human rights each day, as recognised in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At present, they are violated by governments that deprive citizens of their liberty without a trial, imprison journalists and prevent the holding of free and fair elections.

Human Rights in the United Nations (UN)

Human rights are defined as universal, indivisible and interdependent. Human Rights Day is held on 10 December each year, a day to remember the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in Resolution 217 A (III), in 1948.

Following the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a series of international treaties have been signed on human rights and other instruments developed within the applicable international legal framework.

 
Human Rights in the European Unión

The European Union, committed to defending democracy and human rights, has developed a very ambitious policy degrading the framework of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). In June 2012, the Council of the European Union adopted the Strategic Framework, based on the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2020), which established principles, goals and priorities designed to improve the efficiency and consistency of European policy in general for the next few years. Together with the foregoing, and in order to enhance the efficacy and visibility of the EU’s human rights policy, the legal figure of the Special Representative for Human Rights was created in July 2012, a post currently held by Stavros Lambrinidis.

In order to implement its human rights policy, the EU has specific guidelines on priority issues, holds bilateral dialogue on human rights with more than 40 countries, and has approved the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) for the period 2014-2020, through which the EU supports groups, associations and individuals that defend human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law. The Member States and the European External Action Service coordinate their positions on these issues through the Council’s Working Party on Human Rights (COHOM) and the different task forces and COHOM sub-working parties on specific topics.


Human rights at other forums: OSCE, Council of Europe, OAS

Various regional forums that Spain is a member of also address human rights matters: the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), of which Spain has been a participating State since its creation, defines “respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief”, as one of the main guidelines of relations between participating States, and has developed an important acquis on human rights matters based on the Helsinki Final Act.

Spain is a member of the Council of Europe, the regional organisation that has achieved the highest degree of integration on the matter of the promotion and protection of human rights. Among the most important treaties are the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter, the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The European Court of Human Rights safeguards the rights and liberties enshrined in the aforesaid European Convention of 1950 and its corresponding additional protocols.

Spain has the status of Observer State in the Organization of American States (OAS), which gathers together 35 independent States in the Americas and is the main governmental political, legal and social forum in the hemisphere, which firmly supports the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights at both a political and financial level.

 

 

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