Former síndics de greuges

Rafael Ribó i Massó

Mandate: 2004-2022

Rafael Ribó was elected Ombudsman of Catalonia in 2010 according to the new regulatory law of the Ombudsman. He was in charge of the institution for two terms. The first term was from 2004 until 2010, and the second one from 2010 to 2022.

With degrees in Economics and Law from the University of Barcelona, he holds a PhD in Political, Economic and Business Science from the same University and is Master of Arts in Political Science from The New School for Social Research of New York.

Member of the Catalan Assembly, he was one of the promoters of the campaign to restore the Catalan language’s official status and served as secretary of the liaison committee. From 1970, he was tenured professor of Theory of the State and later tenured professor of Political Science at the University of Barcelona. He was elected Secretary General of the PSUC (Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia) in 1986, and has served as MP in the Catalan Parliament until the end of the sixth legislature (1980-2001), as MP in the Spanish Parliament (1993-1995) and as president of the Iniciativa per Catalunya political party (1987-2000).

Ribó has held posts in the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI). He was European President of the IOI in a first term from 2009 to 2012 and in a second term from 2016 to May 2021, as well as one of the directors of the World Board.

He was one of the founding members of the International Association for Language Commissioners (IALC), founded in Barcelona in 2014. He also launched, along with other ombudsmen, the National Energy Ombudsman Network, NEON, founded in Brussels in January 2015.

He has published several books, such as El sistema polític de CatalunyaLa qüestió nacional i els Països CatalansManual de ciència políticaCiudadanía y nacionalismo, i Les regions especials i la reforma del tractat de la Unió Europea.

  • General deputies: Laura Díez (2004-2010), Jordi Sànchez (2010-2015) and Jaume Saura (2015-2022)
  • Deputies for the defense of the rights of children and adolescents: Jaume Funes (2004-2006), Xavier Bonal (2006-2010) and M. Jesús Larios (2010-2022)

Anton Cañellas i Balcells

Mandate: 1993-2004

He was elected to the post of Síndic de Greuges of Catalonia in February 1993. In February 1998, following on a suggestion by all parliamentarian groups, he was re-elected Síndic for a second term of five years, which was extenden until the end of June of 2004.

During eleven years in charge of the office of the Síndic, Cañellas has promoted the international focus of the institution as well as the role of the so-called regional ombudsmen.

He was appointed as president of European Ombudsman Institute (2000-2002) and vice-presidnet of the Latin-American Ombudsman Federation (FIO) during the years 1999-2001.

The international contacts encouraged him to organise in Barcelona the first meeting of regional ombudsmen of the European Union in 1997 and the first round table of European regional ombudsmen in july of 2004 in co-operation with the Council of Europe.

With the Defensor del Poble (national Spanish ombudsman) and Col·legi d'Advocats de Madrid (bar association of Madrid) he started a co-operation programme in the area of the Balkans.

Moreover, during his term of office, he designed the post of deputy for the defense of the rights of the children and he started to do visits with the institution in order to attend the citizens in different Catalan towns. He appointed as deputy Enric R. Bartlett i Castellà and the deputy for the children, Jordi Cots i Moner from 1997.

Cañellas devoted himself to politics right from the years spent in clandestinity forced by the dictatorial regime of General Franco and always showed a liking for external projection. He was born in Barcelona in 1923, he read Law at Barcelona University and, immediately upon ending his degree, he joined the Lawyers' Association.

But his activity did not limit itself to the exercise of his profession. Indeed, he very soon devoted himself to political action. In 1947 he intervened in the foundation of the Joventuts Democràtiques de Catalunya (Catalonian Democratic Youths) and later of the Societat Catalana d'Estudis Jurídics, Econòmics i Socials (Catalonian Association of Juridical, Economic and Social Studies), a body which depends from the Institut d'Estudis Catalans (The Catalonian Academy), and from the Centre for European Studies at the French Institute of Barcelona, of which he was appointed Secretary. He was also appointed Secretary of the United Nations' Association, of which he later became the President.

These links enabled him to travel to the United States, where he was received by President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy, then the Attorney General, while at the same time establishing contacts with other political and university authorities. Among these activities, we could single out that he formed part of the Spanish official delegation which signed the political and economic agreements on Human Rights which took place at the UN in 1976.

After the latest advent of democracy, he was elected to the Spanish Parliament on two occasions - in the 1977 constitutive Parliament and in 1979 - during which time he was co-opted to various important posts. He was the Chairman of the Committee of the Presidency of Government; member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and of the Committee for Legislative Competency. He formed part of the Delegation of Catalonian Parliamentarians in charge of drawing up and negotiating the approval of the Catalonian Statute of Autonomy for the Spanish Parliament. In 1980 he was elected to the Parliament of Catalonia, which appointed him to the Spanish Senate, a post he held until 1984.

After all this political activity, he was appointed Chairman of the Social Council of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in 1985. He has given many public lectures and talks, before and after this position, and has engaged in countless activities. He has written articles for various newspapers and journals and has published various books on political problems. He has further taken part in innumerable congresses, gatherings and meetings.

Anton Cañellas has been distinguished with the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic with the degree of High Official, the St George's Cross of the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Order of Merit of the Constitution of the Spanish Government, the medal of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, the medal of the Ensign of the National Order of Merit of France with the degree of Official, the Great Cross of the Order of Military Merit with white distinctive, and the appointment, by the President of the French Republic, as Official of the Legion of Honour.

Frederic Rahola i d'Espona

Mandate: 1984-1992

Frederic Rahola was the first Síndic de Greuges. He was appointed in 1984, and re-elected in 1989. He held office until his death, which occurred on 23 November 1992.

As the first Síndic, he set the basis of the working system of the institution. He appointed as deputies, Jaume Giné i Daví i (1984-1987) i Elies Rogent i Albiol (1988-1993), acting sindic during three months in 1992-93.

Rahola was born on 21 September 1914 in Barcelona. He was a lawyer for the Ministry of Finances of the Generalitat de Catalunya during the period 1936-1938, a post he had to abandon to go into exile.

He returned to Barcelona in 1942 when he set up the Editorial Teide publishing company together with his brother-in-law, Jaume Vicens Vives, the famed historian.

A historical militant of the nationalist Catalonian Republican Party (ERC), Rahola was appointed Minister for Internal Affairs of the Generalitat de Catalunya by the then President Josep Tarradellas, of whom he had always been a trusted advisor and his representative in Catalonia since 1976.