The European ombudsmen urge governments to comply with the international treaties on human rights and suppress states of emergency



Members of the IOI European chapter, chaired by Ombudsman Rafael Ribó, adopted the Barcelona Statement at the seminar on human rights

They defend the need to network to face the common challenges of safeguarding rights and freedoms, particularly to protect the rights of migrants and refugees

Within the framework of the workshop, Catalan President informed he will commission the Catalan Ombudsman to lead a national human rights plan, 

The President of the Government of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, has closed on April 4th the second international seminar organized by the Ombudsman to address the human rights challenges in Europe. The meeting, which has brought together forty ombudsmen throughout Europe, has culminated in the ratification of the Barcelona Statement. The document, approved by the members of the European chapter of the International Ombudsman Institute, chaired by Ombudsman Rafael Ribó, denounces restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms occurring in some European countries based on security threats and public order. 

In this statement the ombudsmen also undertake to promote and defend human rights and fundamental freedoms, both economic and social as civil and political. They also ask the European Union states to fully comply with their international obligations on human rights, suppressing states of emergency and suspensions of the European Convention when such limitations are not absolutely essential.

They also require the European Union States to host migrants and refugees, in compliance with the proposal of the European Commission of September 2015, and to treat them in full conformity with international and European human rights conventions and standards, with special attention paid to children’s rights and their best interest.

On the second day of the seminar, the EU Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has highlighted the impact of the Ombudsman in the defense of rights beyond the investigation of individual complaints.

The Ombudsman of Turkey, Seref Malkoç, has addressed the issue of terrorism and has highlighted that European Ombudsmen cannot solve the crisis of refugees and migration in general without networking with ombudsmen throughout the world, especially those from the countries of origin of migrants.

The Spanish Ombudsman Soledad Becerril, has made a public outcry in favor of peace and put on the table the need to end the war in Syria.

The Statement of Spanish regional ombudsmen of February 2017, which urged the Spanish government to expand the reception of refugees, has been the focus of the speech of the Basque Ombudsman, Manuel Lezertua. For its part, the Greek Ombudsman, Andreas Potakkis, has talked about the perception of Greece as a transit point for refugees and the impact of this emergency situation on their rights. 

The Ombudsman Rafael Ribó has defended the need of Ombudsman institutions to network at a European and world level to face the common challenges of defending rights and freedoms, particularly to protect the rights of migrants and refugees in their countries of origin, transit and destination.

This is one of the commitments included in the Barcelona Statement, which was presented by the Deputy General, Jaume Saura.

The Catalan Ombudsman will lead a national human rights plan in Catalonia

Within the framework of this seminar, the President of the Government of Catalonia has stated that he will commission the Catalan Ombudsman to lead a national human rights plan, in accordance with international principles and requirements, with a view to an external projection of what is done in Catalonia on human rights.

The election of the Catalan Ombudsman to lead the project is motivated because the institution has the necessary skills and means to carry out this mission, together with national and international experience. To this end, the Catalan Ombudsman will work in conjunction with the Human Rights Institute of Catalonia, the only general body in the field of human rights in Catalonia that enjoys observer status at the United Nations. They also want to open the participation to institutions and social entities that work on the subject.

The Catalan Ombudsman, once constituted as the National Structure of Human Rights (NSHR), in addition to elaborating the plan, would have the functions of monitoring and commenting on the bills, issuing reports and collaborating with third sector entities, among others.

Access to Barcelona Statement