The Ombudsman meets the Director of Amnesty International Spain

The Ombudsman meets the Director of Amnesty International Spain


The Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo, met on Wednesday with representatives of Amnesty International, including the director of the organisation’s Spanish section, Esteban Beltrán.

The meeting was held in response to Amnesty International’s concerns about the death of elderly people in residential homes during the pandemic. The Ombudsman said that he shared the concern and pain of the relatives of the thousands of elderly people who died in residential homes, and that the Institution would continue to work to ensure that the competent authorities guarantee that the rights of residents are respected and that decisions are taken to improve the lives of elderly people living in these centres.

However, he also recalled that the constitutional role of the Ombudsman does not extend to the prosecution of criminal, civil or administrative offences committed by specific individuals or institutions, which must strictly respect the independence of the judiciary and the Public Prosecutor’s Office at all times.

During the meeting, emphasis was placed on the need to listen to the families of the victims and to analyse the monitoring processes for the necessary clarification of the events that occurred in residential homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Actions taken by the Institution

The Ombudsman Institution has been warning for some time about the shortcomings and problems in residential care for the elderly. These warnings were issued both before the outbreak of the pandemic – a general investigation was carried out in 2017 due to the precariousness and lack of resources in the system – and immediately afterwards. As a result, on 3 April 2020, ex officio actions were initiated with all the autonomous communities to identify what measures and protocols were being implemented in homes for the elderly.

In November of the same year, the Institution passed on its conclusions to all the administrations involved and presented, before the Joint Committee of Congress and Senate, the need to undertake an in-depth review of the current model of residential care for the elderly.

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