On Thursday, the auditorium of the Palau de la Generalitat, the seat of the Government of Catalonia, hosted the presentation of the book Respect for Human Rights in Spain.A critical analysis from an international law perspective. The book, conceived and edited by the Directorate-General for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights and the Official Journal and Publications Organisation of the Government of Catalonia, warns of Spain’s systematic failure to comply with international human rights law. The presentation included a round table discussion moderated by journalist Iu Forn to delve further into this issue, with the participation of the criminal law specialist, Andreu Van Den Eynde, and Dr Maria Esther Jornada Santiago, a professor of Public International Law and European Union Law at the University of Girona and the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and a criminal lawyer specialising in Human Rights, social movements, and International Humanitarian Law.
The Minister for the Presidency, Laura Vilagrà i Pons, inaugurated the event emphasising the legal rigour of the work and stressing that it "highlights Spain’s failure to comply with its international commitments in the area of human rights". Vilagrà recalled that Catalonia is suffering "repression, imprisonment and exile" as well as "political persecution and prosecution". Therefore, the minister demanded that the Spanish government demonstrate its "political will" through "deeds and actions" that "imply real changes in people's lives" to comply with the main international treaties promoted in the context of the United Nations, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The book concludes that it is necessary to improve the protection of human rights in Spain and, in this regard, Vilagrà expressed her gratitude for the work carried out to make the book a reality and stressed that "it shows the importance of meticulous care and control in the protection and defence of human rights with the aim of guaranteeing a free and just society". The Minister for the Presidency concluded that "no state should be above human rights and their application".
During her speech, the Minister of Equality and Feminism, Tània Verge Mestre, described the book as "a highly valuable document that analyses compliance with international mechanisms for the protection of human rights and which also focuses on compliance with regulations of vital importance for society as a whole, such as the prohibition of torture, freedom of expression, women's rights, the rights of migrants, linguistic rights and the right to housing”. Verge stressed that "in today’s context, where human rights are constantly under threat, more than ever, we need to advocate their validity and commit to their compliance and to all those mechanisms that can help to guarantee their enforcement" and added that "institutions have the duty to comply with human rights conventions and commitments, as well as to speak out when they are not effectively implemented”.
The presentation of this book is one of the events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948. In order to vindicate its relevance and underline its importance, numerous events and informative talks have been organised throughout the year in all vegueries of Catalonia, and specific reports and papers on the subject have also been published.