Madrid launches its new program on the protection of human rights defenders

Last 16 October, Madrid presented its new program for the temporary reception of human rights defenders that are living under threat in their own territories of origin. This initiative supposes a major priority for Madrid’s Strategic Plan on Human Rights adopted last 2017, and aims at reaffirming and developing the city’s commitment to the “Cities for Rights” movement. The program has benefited since its inception from a strong participation of local civil society organizations, and hopes to become an international reference in the matter of local initiatives on human rights protection, thanks to the development of new local solidarity ties.

The program’s official launching was attended by Madrid's third Deputy Mayor Mauricio Valiente and the municipality’s spokesperson Rita Maestre. This event also counted with the participation and testimony of several Human Rights Defenders, such as Rudy Estela, from the Ríos Vivos Movement, Carlos Fernández from the Colombian Commission “Justicia y Paz”, and Antonio Montoro, Director of the Foundation. Mundubat (organization coordinating the program in partnership with Madrid City Council).

“We, as local authorities, can intervene to protect human rights and the right to refugee through three areas that constantly demand our attention: supporting human mobility by providing dignified conditions for reception of refugees; strengthening decentralized cooperation programs; and supporting the work of Human Rights Defenders, as this project intends to do. Because there are no rights without its defenders

Mauricio Valiente, Deputy Mayor of Madrid

Madrid's program for human rights defenders has five main objectives:

  1. Offering temporary protection to human rights defenders at risk through a comprehensive approach;
  2. Improving the tools by which human rights defenders carry out their work;
  3. Contributing to create a safe and favorable environment in their countries of origin;
  4. Improving the knowledge of Madrilenians on the situations affecting communities and human rights advocates across the world;
  5. Strengthening the links with local organizations and advocacy platforms in the city of Madrid.

[ Go to the program's website ]

On its first edition, the program will focus on the situation of human rights defenders in Colombia. It plans to begin hosting human rights defenders on a regular basis as early as April 2019. The program's website already presents those interested with relevant information, news and highlights on the agenda. It will allow everyone interested to follow its evolution in full transparency in the coming months.

Source : Mundubat and Red ONGd Madrid

The Forum “Cities of Peace: Global Forum on Urban Violence and Education for Coexistence and Peace”, organized in conjunction with the UCLG World Council from 5 to 8 November 2018 is going to provide another opportunity to present this initiative in front of an international audience of local authorities and social movements.