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Human Rights

Spain is a country deeply committed to human rights, the protection and promotion of which is a priority of our foreign policy. Freedom, justice and peace are founded on respect for the dignity and inalienable rights of all people. Spain wants to contribute in its national capacity and as a member of the European Union to a freer, fairer and more peaceful world.

A clear example of Spain's commitment to the protection of human rights is its candidacy to the Human Rights Council for the 2025-2027 term. If elected, it would be the third time that Spain has been a member of the Council, having served from 2011 to 2013 and then for a second term from 2018 to 2020.  

The fight against the death penalty is a priority of Spanish foreign policy. Hundreds of people are executed around the world every year under the death penalty in all circumstances and regardless of the crime committed. In 2010, the International Commission against the Death Penalty (ICDC) was created, based in Madrid and made up of some 20 independent personalities from all regions of the world. Spain, together with the European Union and the International Commission, has been working to ensure that other countries reduce the number of crimes punishable by capital punishment, commute death sentences or reform their laws so that judges have the alternative of imposing custodial sentences instead of death sentences, thus moving towards abolition.

Spain also identifies the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities as another priority. It advocates the approach of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006), the adoption of which has brought about a paradigm shift in this field by recognising persons with disabilities as true holders of rights. In October 2022, the post of Ambassador-at-Large for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was created. 

The fight for equality between men and women is also one of the priorities of Spanish foreign policy. Spain participates very actively, both in the European Union and in the United Nations system, in setting policies and creating instruments and institutions to combat gender discrimination and defend the rights of women and girls.

The recognition of the right to drinking water and sanitation has become one of the main priorities of Spanish foreign policy on Human Rights and development cooperation. In 2006, Spain and Germany undertook a joint initiative in favour of the recognition of this right within the United Nations, considering that the right to safe drinking water and sanitation is indispensable for the realisation of other Human Rights and that it is an essential component of the right to an adequate standard of living, as set out in article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is another priority of Spain's external action.  Spain is involved in the main multilateral initiatives working for the promotion and protection of the human rights of LGTBI people, and Spain is considered a driving force in the recognition and defence of the rights of LGTBI people.   In recent years, our country has promoted and supported the mandate of the United Nations Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, being part of the Equal Rights Coalition (ERC), the United Nations LGBT Core Group and the Council of Europe LGBTI Focal Points Network . Spain has recently joined the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership that supports civil society programmes that promote and protect the human rights of LGTBI people around the world. ​


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