Human Rights

The protection and promotion of human rights is one of the basic priorities of Spanish foreign policy, as confirmed by the Foreign Action Strategy published in 2015. Human rights issues are on the agenda in all bilateral contacts with governments of all the regions of the world.

The Human Rights Office (odh@maec.es) is the body of the Directorate-General of the United Nations and Directorate-General for Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation that is responsible for coordinating Spanish foreign policy in the area of protecting and promoting human rights and the drafting, proposal and application of this policy in international bodies.

  • Spanish priorities
    The promotion and defence of human rights constitutes one of the priorities of foreign policy and international cooperation to guarantee peace and security in the world.
    This policy is implemented through five non-exclusive priority areas: the fight against the death penalty; non-discrimination for reasons of gender or sexual orientation; the rights of people with disabilities; the human right to drinking water and sanitation; and companies and human rights. Together with these, and acting across these areas, particular attention is paid to supporting defenders of human rights, for whom there is a temporary reception programme.
  • Human rights around the world
    Thousands of people every day demand respect for human rights as recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Human rights continue to be violated by governments that take freedom away from their citizens, incarcerate journalists, or prevent free and fair elections from being held.
  • Death Penalty
    Hundreds of people are executed in the world every day through the application of the death penalty. Spain supports the abolition of this penalty, in all circumstances and regardless of the crime committed, because it is cruel, inhumane and degrading, because it does not have proven results in preventing crime, and because it involves irreparable effects in the case of judicial error, to which no legal system is immune.
  • Election Observation
    The multiple democratisation processes initiated in much of the world nearly three decades ago have led to increasingly greater demand for international election observation missions.

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