Assemblea denounces Spain’s human rights abuses against Catalan civil society and political representatives before the OSCE

The Catalan National Assembly has taken part in the OSCE event marking the 30th anniversary of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), to denounce the continued repression that Spanish authorities exercise on Catalonia’s pro-independence movement.

The 14th and 15th of October, the Catalan National Assembly took part in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) event “Democracy, human rights and security in the OSCE”, on the 30th anniversary of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). ODHIR focuses on strengthening democratic institutions and respect for human rights and the rule of law, as well as creating a platform for civil society to interact with national authorities, boosting their voices.

In this sense, representatives of the Catalan National Assembly have intervened in two of the sessions of the conference to denounce the abuses by Spanish authorities against Catalan democratic institutions and elected representatives, and human rights violations against peaceful Catalan activists.

Eva Pruneda, a member of Assemblea’s National Board, took part in the second session, “Promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms together”, which took place on Friday. In this session, Ms Pruneda denounced the use of lawfare by the Spanish state: “regular citizens have also been affected by this persecution, with more than 3,000 Catalans victims of institutional violence or lawfare. This is the case of the 13 Catalan activists jailed under terrorist accusations in 2019. Despite being released due to the lack of evidence, the Spanish National High Court has recently prosecuted them with the same charges. The Spanish authorities’ behaviour contributes to the erosion of democratic principles and the rule of law.”

In relation to these comments, one of the panelists of the session, the Director of Europe of Central Asia division of the International NGO Human Rights Watch Mr Hugh Williamson acknowledged that OSCE institutions could play a bigger role on the Catalan issue, on trial monitoring and reviewing legislation.

The same day, Ms. Bàrbara Roviró, a member of Assemblea’s National Board and its International Committee Coordinator took part in the last session, “Addressing all forms of intolerance and discrimination and building equal and inclusive societies”, in which she denounced the “widespread discrimination against Catalan speakers in the Spanish administration, the judiciary and the security forces”, as denounced by UN Special Rapporteur on Minorities, Fernand de Varennes, in March 2020. In his report, Mr. de Varennes highlighted the “significant increase in hate speech, vilification, vandalism, physical threats, and even assaults against members of the Catalan minority, as well as allegations that these complaints are not investigated.”

In the context of the conference, as representatives of Assemblea, they both called on the OSCE human rights bodies to visit Catalonia, and report and investigate these human rights violations, and overall to play a more active role on the matter.

Assemblea regularly takes part in the meetings of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on human rights, where its representatives have carried out oral statements as well as submitting written statements to denounce violations of rights by Spanish institutions against the people of Catalonia (September 2019November 2019June 2020April 2021, July 2021).

Successful conclusion of the #CatalanWeek2021

The foreign branches of the Catalan National Assembly organized a new edition of the #Catalanweek, 14 events in 8 countries and territories over two weeks, and in more than 5 languages, which gathered hundreds of attendees online and in person.

Aside from raising awareness on Catalonia’s pro-independence cause abroad, the events raised questions on fake news and their use by political authorities, successful cases of independence in the 21st century – such as the Baltic countries – language diversity in Europe, legal and political repression by the Spanish state against self-determination movements, and a legal framework for the success of self-determination movements, among others.

A key part of the organizational structure of the Catalan National Assembly, Assemblea’s foreign assemblies work at a grassroots level as organized Catalan diaspora with local organizations, NGOs and political representatives all over the world to inform about the political situation in Catalonia and its struggle for independence and encourage anyone interested in contributing and working  towards the Catalan pro-independence cause from abroad to get in touch with them, to learn more or to take part in these or other events.