José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, President of Spain (2004-2011) and Club de Madrid Member, joined a three-day high-level mission to Dominican Republic as was part of a joint initiative of the Club de Madrid and the Instituto Nacional de Migración, chaired by Club de Madrid NetPLUSS member Dr. Florinda Rojas.
The activity addressed a forum on migration and social inclusion alongside, inter alia, the Minister of Interior and Police, Carlos Amarante Baret and the Dominican Ambassador to Haiti, Dr. Ruben Sillié. President Rodríguez Zapatero shared his expertise and his personal experience overseeing the inclusion of immigrants into Spanish society and met with representatives of the government and civil society.
This mission, framed within the larger Shared Societies Project of the Club de Madrid, took place from the 30th of January until the 1st of February. While in Dominican Republic, President Rodríguez Zapatero championed a comprehensive and humane approach to the issue of migrants, emphasizing the need to recognize their inalienable rights and to not treat them as second-class citizens. Likewise, he insisted that the historical trend towards human rights and against racism and xenophobia could not and should not be resisted, making reference to Spain’s own success story integrating over 6 million immigrants over the last years and highlighting the central role that universal healthcare and education need to play in the development of a migration policy based on the rule of law, inclusiveness and cooperation. He ran a tight agenda, which included:
This was the first mission in Dominican Republic within the SSP project as it explores the prospects of further future collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Migración and other key stakeholders in the country.