Cite as

  The World Health Organization.


  Ricardo López Hernández – UNSA Barcelona.

  Permanent Representation of Spain before the WHO.



The Kingdom of Spain understands health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, as stated in the Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization (1946), an organization in which we have been members since 1951. On the other hand, as a democratic country with a strong commitment to human rights, Spain advocates effective compliance with article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, specified in article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (signed in 1976 and ratified in 1977) and developed as established in General Comment 14 (2000). This respect for human rights is incorporated in our internal legislation in article 10.1 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 and, specifically, the right to health is recognized in article 43. In addition, Spain has signed bilateral and multilateral treaties on health and has ratified other conventions where the right to health is protected and promoted such as the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the European Social Charter or the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Spain's commitment to health goes beyond its borders and advocates a strong internationalization of policies promoting universal health in order to guarantee progress and social peace. Spain is aware that bringing universal health care to areas where armed conflict predominates or where there is manifest poverty is complex, but we deeply believe in the need to do so out of ethical and justice convictions. This is why Spain has been involved in the last few decades in international missions of collaboration, aid or support for humanitarian causes of different kinds, contributing new military strategies based on achieving maximum effectiveness through efficiency, as well as designing new creative programmes that establish ways of acting based on the physical and mental protection of soldiers stationed abroad, such as limiting periods of assignment in conflict zones to 3 months, the incorporation of a greater number of medical personnel per mission or close collaboration with NGOs in matters of coordinating health care programmes in places of predominant military action.

At the moment, Spain has 2,510 soldiers deployed on 4 continents, belonging to the armed corps of the Guardia Civil and the Armed Forces of the Kingdom of Spain (the Spanish Army, the Spanish Air Force and the Spanish Navy). These troops are deployed in 5 different types of missions: (1) 554 soldiers in 3 NATO missions (SNMG/SNMCMG, Enhance Forward Presence and Support to Turkey); (2) 686 soldiers in 6 EU missions (EUTM Mali-mission general command, Eunavfor Med Sophia, EUTM RCA, EUTM Somalia, EUFOR Althea Bosnia-Herzegovina, Operation Atlanta-strategic mission command); (3) 615 Spanish United Nations Peacekeepers in 2 missions (UN Mission Colombia, FINUL-Free Hidalgo); (4) 551 soldiers in Iraq as part of the international...