Assemblea denounces Spain’s lawfare against the Catalan people at OSCE human rights meeting

Assemblea took part at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting “Democratic Law-Making: Ensuring Participation”, in which OSCE participating States can ensure their laws are in line with international human rights standards.

The Catalan National Assembly took part at the OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting “Democratic Law-Making: Ensuring Participation” on April 26th and 27th, to denounce the effects of Spain’s authorities’ intromission in Catalonia’s policymaking and the use of politically motivated judicial persecution –lawfare— against democratically elected leaders and activists, human rights violations aimed at maintaining the territorial integrity of Spain.

In this sense, Assemblea Board Members Carles Fité, Erika Casajoana, and Bàrbara Roviró took part in three sessions, which dealt with issues such as Open and Inclusive Law-Making, Recent Challenges and Opportunities of Law-Making, and Public Participation and the Digital Space, respectively.

Mr. Fité highlighted the increase of the use of lawfare since the Catalan independence referendum of October 2017: “Spanish authorities have launched a wave of politically motivated persecution against civil society activists and democratically elected representatives.”—and added— “Spain’s judiciary has actively intervened in Catalan parliamentary activity, abolishing laws and annulling resolutions on social, economic, civil and political rights passed by the Catalan chamber.”

Ms. Casajoana denounced the Spanish repression of former Assemblea president and Catalan Parliament Speaker Carme Forcadell: “Despite the calls of freedom by international organizations such as the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Amnesty International, Ms. Forcadell spent two years in pretrial detention and was sentenced to 11 years and six months of prison in 2019 for allowing a parliamentary debate on independence”.

Finally, Ms. Roviró denounced the cases of censorship and prosecution based on digital platforms: “Since 2017, Spanish authorities have been limiting the capacity of civil society organizations in Catalonia to develop their activities, using lawfare and political persecution, curtailing the right of freedom of expression and public participation.”

Ms. Roviró also alerted of Spanish lawfare targeting civil society NGOs like Assemblea “During the Spanish repression of the 2017 Catalan independence referendum, the Spanish Civil Guard shut down more than 200 websites, many of them with no prior judicial order, including the webpage of Assemblea. In a similar vein, a few months ago, a public campaign on consumer awareness promoted by our organization was suspended by a court as an interim measure, and the website of the campaign was shut down.”

The three Board Members denounced the systematic obstruction of Catalan policy-making by Spanish authorities and called on them to respect, protect and promote the right to political participation of the Catalan representatives and civil society, and for OSCE experts to visit Catalonia and report on the situation there.

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 turned in written statements to denounce violations of rights by Spanish institutions against the people of Catalonia (September 2019, November 2019, June 2020).

Read here the written statements of the interventions: Session 1, Session 2, Session 3