Assemblea denounces human rights abuses against the Catalan people at the United Nations’ most important meeting on minority issues

The Catalan National Assembly (Assemblea) took part on the 2nd and 3rd of December in the 14th session of the United Nations Forum on Minority Issues, the institution’s most important yearly meeting on this topic, to denounce the human rights abuses against the Catalan national minority committed by the Spanish authorities.

On the 2nd and 3rd of December, the 14th session of the United Nations European Forum on Minority Issues brought together hundreds of representatives from states, UN and regional organizations, as well as civil society and minority groups. This annual meeting is held to analyze practices, challenges, opportunities, threats, and initiatives in addressing conflict prevention and the protection of the human rights of minorities, in line with the principles and rights enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Minorities.

In this regard, Assemblea representatives intervened the sessions of the forum to denounce the human rights violations being meted out against the Catalan national minority by the Spanish authorities, as well as the growing persecution of Catalan culture and language.

Assemblea Board Member Eva Pruneda Ruiz took the floor during the session “Legal and institutional framework: the human rights of minorities and conflict prevention”, where she recalled that “since 2017 the Spanish authorities have launched a wave of politically motivated persecution against civil society activists and democratically elected representatives of the Catalan minority. Spanish courts have actively intervened in Catalan parliamentary activity, thus disenfranchising the political representation of national minorities”, a situation “denounced by the Council of Europe, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and international NGOs such as Amnesty International.

Pruneda also recalled the March 2020 report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Mr. Fernand De Varennes, who alerted of an increase in “hate speech and vilification against members of the Catalan minority, as well as allegations that these complaints “are not investigated, thus increasing intolerance of Spanish nationalism.”. In the same vein, Assemblea’s representative reminded that in June 2021, the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly passed a resolution comparing the cases of Turkey and Spain for their abuses against political representatives of the Kurdish and Catalan national minorities respectively, stressing that “the exercise of fundamental rights, such as calling for peaceful demonstrations, especially when it is exercised by so many people, can never be considered a crime.”

In this sense, Pruneda called on UN authorities “to take measures to make sure that Spanish authorities stop their political persecution against Catalan political representatives and activists, respect the fundamental rights of the Catalan people, including its legitimate right to self-determination.”

As part of its international strategy, Assemblea is present on a regular basis at United Nations meetings concerning national minorities and human rights to denounce rights violations against Catalans, as well as key events such as the UN Universal Periodic Review of Spain (2020), and its representatives have carried out several oral statements as well as submitting  written statements to denounce violations of rights by Spanish institutions against the Catalan minority. (October 2021, November 2020June 2018).