The Spanish Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo: “Weakening or disregarding the institutions is a direct affront to the citizenry”

The Spanish Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo: “Weakening or disregarding the institutions is a direct affront to the citizenry”


The Spanish Ombudsman, Ángel Gabilondo, and the President of the Congress of Deputies, Meritxell Batet, commemorated this Tuesday the 40th anniversary of the institution of the Ombudsman in a ceremony held in the Congress of Deputies.

The Ombudsman pointed out during his speech that “competent and fair institutions are the best guarantee of democratic coexistence, and the commitment, exemplarity and work of those of us in them are the keys to respect for the dignity of citizens”. To weaken or disregard them is a direct affront to citizenship. In his opinion, “these 40 years show us that, amid many difficulties, it is possible to broaden the channels of dignity”. Amid many difficulties, there is also much to celebrate.

Ángel Gabilondo reviewed the institution’s activity since 1982. During this time, the Ombudsman has received almost one million complaints from citizens and initiated 7,598 ex officio actions. Likewise, 20,465 resolutions (8,605 recommendations and 11,860 suggestions) have been addressed to the different administrations. The issues that have most concerned citizens over the last four decades have been related to judicial delays, health care, social security, employment, education, essential public services, housing and taxes.

The Ombudsman also referred to the work of the institution in its capacity as the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which, since its establishment in 2010, has visited 1,167 places where there is deprivation of liberty throughout Spain.

For Ángel Gabilondo, the institution he heads “must beat to the Constitution’s heartbeat, which in its preamble proclaims the will to guarantee democratic coexistence, within the Constitution and the laws”. Noting that “this is the fundamental task of the Ombudsman: to foster the best conditions for coexistence”, he pointed out that “this requires the establishment of justice, freedom and security, which must be intrinsically linked to promoting the common good, which means making it concrete in equality and solidarity, following a simply economic and social order”.

The Ombudsman also recalled his predecessors in the post. He thanked them for their work to protect and defend the rights of citizens, rights recognised in the constitutional text.

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