The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Alfonso Dastis, accompanied by the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ildefonso Castro, received the Senior Director for Research of the International Secretariat of Amnesty International (AI), Anna Neistat, the Director of Amnesty International in Spain, Esteban Beltrán, and the Head of Institutional Relations and Foreign Policy of AI, María del Pozo, on Tuesday, 7 March.
The minister and State secretary reviewed aspects on the international human rights agenda with the representatives of AI. They reiterated to them that the respect, promotion and protection of human rights constitutes a priority for Spanish foreign policy, which is working on several priority areas, such as the fight against the death penalty; non-discrimination on grounds of gender, sexual orientation and gender identity; the rights of persons with disabilities; the human rights to drinking water and sanitation; companies and human rights, and human rights defenders.
The recent participation of the minister at the ministerial segment of the session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva served to reaffirm Spain’s commitment to human rights and its willingness to cooperate with the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights. In his speech to the council, Minister Dastis expressly called on voices from civil society and human rights defenders to be heard on the council and outlined certain aspects of Spain’s candidature to the Human Rights Council for the period 2018-2020.
The representatives of Amnesty International acknowledged Spain’s active role in trying to limit the use of the veto on the UN Security Council and underlined the importance of continuing to work towards this goal.
The two parties also addressed the situation of refugees, and agreed that this should be tackled on the basis of respect for human rights and observed the habitual and highly satisfactory collaboration within the framework of the temporary reception programme for human rights defenders.
-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-