The Catalan Ombudsman calls for political agreements to deal with issues and social inequalities



In 2018, 10,495 complaints were received from 14,000 people. 9,987 queries have been processed and 264 ex-officio actions have been initiated. And overall, 26,000 files have been processed and more than 35,000 people have been attended

It is frequent that cases on the denial or non-resolution on the guaranteed income entail serious situations of energy poverty and even evictions

In 2018, there has been an increase in the Catalan Ombudsman's requests for intervention in the field of civil and political rights

In this report, as a final consideration, Rafael Ribó asks all Catalan institutions to set as priority challenges for the future the fight against social and economic inequality, the consideration of housing as a fundamental right and equal opportunities in education

The Catalan Ombudsman received a total of 10,495 complaints from 14,000 people during the year 2018, given that some are collective. It is the highest figure after 2015. It has also attended 9,987 queries and has begun 264 ex-officio actions. 136 office visits have been made to 106 municipalities and, overall, 26,000 cases have been processed. The Catalan Ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, highlighted this information to the President of the Parliament, Roger Torrent, to whom he submitted the Annual Report 2018, the last of the term for which he was elected in 2010.

During the meeting held with the President of Parliament, Rafael Ribó expressed his concern about the political instability experienced in Catalonia during 2018, aggravated by the introduction of obstructive and interventionist measures that have made it difficult its governability. In this regard, he warned that the main victims always ends up being the most vulnerable people, who are the ones who require the most protection of the Administration.

The most significant increase in complaints has been registered in the field of social policies, which has exceeded the threshold of 30% (32%) with regards to all the problems raised. And in a more speficic way, the difficulties encountered by people at risk of social exclusion have been identified. Never had the Catalan Ombudsman received so many complaints in which a single person would agglutinate such a number of problems of a diverse nature.

It is frequent that cases on the denial or non-resolution on the guaranteed income entail serious situations of energy poverty and even evictions. These situations can be even more dramatic in the case of people with dependent children. In fact, most complaints in these areas have been filed by women. The gender is very present in this reality, and the Catalan Ombudsman urges the development and implementation of social policies from this perspective.

The Catalan Ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, thanked the good predisposition and collaborative attitude of the administrations throughout the this term and called on all the Catalan institutions to set as priority challenges for the future the fight against social and economic inequality, consideration of housing as a fundamental right and equal opportunities in education.

68% of awareness and almost 80% efficiency

At the beginning of the first term, the Catalan Ombudsman was an institution unknown to a large part of Catalan citizenship. The index of awareness in 2005 barely exceeded 50%. According to the latest awareness survey, carried out in January 2019, the degree of visibility of the institution and its work has reached 68%. Beyond the projection, the Catalan Ombudsman had set the objective of influencing the utility of the service provided. In 2018, 97.6% of the resolutions were accepted (25.1% of which a  partial acceptance).

Featured actions by subject

2018 data show an increase in the number of interventions in two particularly relevant areas. One is the one of public administration, in particular of citizen participation, since many people consider that their civil and political rights have been violated, such as the right of demonstration or of freedom of expression, the right to be represented by the people they have voted for or the neutrality of the use of public spaces, among others.

However, the most significant increase this year has occurred in the field of social policies. The year 2018 has been especially hard for people at risk of social exclusion.

The areas related to childhood and education and also the field of transparency are dealt with in depth in the respective mandatory reports that can be found on the web


Social policies

Inadequate response from the administrations to the eviction of vulnerable people

Violations in the field of housing have led to an increase in complaints and have highlighted the lack of a sufficient social housing stock and the collapse of residential emergency boards.  Emergency boards are overwhelmed by the increase in housing needs and the resolution deadlines are excessively long.

Hundreds of complaints related to the guaranteed citizen income

The Catalan Ombudsman has received hundreds of complaints about the refusal or failure to respond to the demand for guaranteed citizen income and also because of the lack of information about the different benefits provided for in Law 14/2017. 

The management of the social good of electricity is confusing and complex

Regarding the social energy benefit, the complaints received during 2018 show that some collectives, such as the recipients of widowhood pensions, that enjoyed this benefit in the energy bill according to the previous regulations, were excluded.

Public administration and rights

Increase in complaints related to freedom of expression

In 2018, there has been a significant increase in the Catalan Ombudsman's requests for intervention in the field of civil and political rights; many linked to the demonstrations and violations of the freedom of expression or the neutrality of the public spaces.

Territorial policies

Aggressions to the environment

The Catalan Ombudsman continues to be concerned about the proliferation of urban projects with a speculative dimension, as demonstrated in the monographic report presented in May this year.

Measures to reduce air pollution in Barcelona

In the field of the environment, the Catalan Ombudsman has studied the measures taken by the Barcelona City Council to reduce the high levels of air pollution in the city and its metropolitan area.

Consumers Affairs

Abusive practices in the management of payment of basic supply debts

The Catalan Ombudsman has received complaints about the debt collection practices carried out by agencies acting on behalf of supply companies, in relation to people who are in a situation of energy poverty


Throughout 2018, the Structure has approved a catalogue of 27 human rights and has developed the corresponding diagnostic studies on the situation of these rights in Catalonia and the proposals for improvement. These documents are currently being discussed among the most relevant entities in each subject, as a prior step to dissemination and consultation with society in general, in a process that should lead to the preparation of a proposal of the National Rights Plan humans.

All the documentation and the contributions that are produced can be consulted on the website


The report ends with a note on some issues that are future challenges in the achievement of rights in Catalonia:

The fight against social and economic inequality, especially of some groups such as children and people belonging to minorities.

The consideration of housing as a fundamental right and not just as an economic object, so that universal access to affordable housing is truly effective.

Equal opportunities in education and fighting against segregation as an instrument to guarantee equality.

The guarantee of the rights of migrants, either for economic reasons or for refuge, with a special impact on children who arrive in our country without family references.

The guarantee of the condition of children as full citizens with the capacity to inform themselves and participate in social and political life.

The visibilization and fight against sexist and LGTBI violence.

The visibility and fight against childhood abuse and child sexual abuse.

The substantial reduction of the levels of atmospheric pollution in our cities, from an approach to the right to people's health.

The future of young people in our country in an environment of occupational uncertainty and degradation of higher education with the consequent flight of talents.

The impact on the rights of new technologies and the scope of these rights in the digital space, taking into account issues such as the protection of personal data or the technological gap between generations

The consideration of the territory as a heritage that must be preserved as an individual and collective right of our generation and of those that must come.

The right of all people in our society to participate actively and without restriction in the political decisions and to facilitate this participation.