December 19, 2012 - Good evening, it is difficult for me to speak after so many politicians, I am not a politician but in 1968 I graduated in Political Science and Sociology and I was a Member of Parliament in the first parliaments, but my greatest joy came later when I started defending Human Rights. And it started after a call made to me by some collaborators of the former French Prime Minister and Mayor of Lille who was visiting for a twin city ceremony with the city of Valladolid. Some collaborators called me and asked me if I could meet them a few days before the PM’s visit as I was the Mayor of Valladolid, the city that was going to twin. I said there was no problem, I was in Valladolid at the time and their proposal was to initiate the Spanish Pro-Human Rights League through my organisation which was then clandestine, Spanish League for the Defence of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, which was formed in 1913 in the Ateneo de Madrid to defend some anarchists who had occupied a property and had been sentenced to death. From then onwards, I joined the fight for Human Rights and this has been one of the greatest satisfactions of my life. I must say that I have had opportunities to meet dictators and democrats. For me it’s an honour to be here today and to have on my right a … son… of an American Senator who was assassinated and the nephew of a President who died when I was 16 years old and I was doing voluntary military service and I remember that we were at camp for an entire week and not allowed out and I was at the American Base in Zaragoza. For me it’s an honour because you are from a family who are role models in the field of Human Rights and Liberties, your father and your uncle.
I also want to say thanks to Irene Lozano. The last time I had the opportunity to meet her was just days or weeks before the elections, and she was worried because she did not have her place on the list and I told her not to worry because I was sure she’d be on the list. And, above all, I want to think her because – as she said – her party is young and it defends Iran and it also defends the Saharan people very well, who are suffering a similar situation to that suffered by Iranians. But I do not want to speak as a politician because it is really not my role, I am here to speak in my capacity of Chairman of the Spanish Pro-Human Rights League and the Spanish Pro-Human Rights Federation.
Firstly, I would like to thank the organisers for inviting us, to take part in this conference, above all the NCRI. I was able to meet them and get to know them at the conference organised by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Human Rights Office, the Cervantes Institute and the Spanish Human Rights Federation organised on December 10, 2012, to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations.
We have supported the NCRI from the outset, in its work to achieve compliance with Human Rights in Iran. We agree with the programme fostered by their President, Ms Maryam Rajavi. All of us working for compliance with and respect of Human Rights in the world are hoping that Iran will have a government respecting such rights, which respects and fosters these rights. Where the death penalty is abolished, in addition to any discrimination against women, and the separation between Religion and State is established. The NCRI is the organisation committed to attaining all of these goals, accepting the Universal Human Rights Declaration and the international treaties on Civil Rights, freedom of association, freedom of thought and speech, a commitment to foster the creation of political parties and trade unions and the freedom to practice religions. It is necessary that Iran ceases be in the lead, together with China and Saudi Arabia, of the countries where a greater number of executions are ordered. Capital punishment is not a way of doing justice, it is the greatest failure of justice, and here is Juan who is a brilliant jurist and know that often justice does not rule in favour of those trying to defend it; at this time we have a case about a Saharan murdered by the Moroccan authorities and Spanish justice system and all its jurisdiction have not rule in our favour because they said that Morocco must judge the case and not Spain. We are working on the basis that Spain in the administrating power and should be the country where the case is judged, and this is why we have taken the Spanish government to the courts of Strasbourg.
Given the above, the Spanish Human Rights League will always work side-by-side with anyone working for human rights and the abolition of capital punishment in the entire world.
Here we have heard a lot about the Liberty refugee camp. The Spanish Human Rights League, which has extensive experience in bring refugees to Spain can commit to bringing a small group of people to live in a flat, an apartment, so this is like a spearhead or a pinprick to edge the Spanish government to expedite the opportunity of those 3,000 people coming to Spain.
Given the above, with humbleness I want to paraphrase a famous quote of your uncle and not say we are all from Berlin [“Ich bin ein Berliner”] but rather we are all citizens of a world free of oppressors.
Francisco Jose Alonso Rodriguez, Head of Spain’s Human Rights League
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