Assemblea denounces Spain’s use of terrorism allegations to silence Catalonia’s pro-independence movement before the OSCE

The Catalan National Assembly (Assemblea) has taken part in the 2024 OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting, one of the most important gatherings on the state of human rights in Europe, to denounce the criminalization of the Catalan pro-independence movement through terrorism charges.

On 23 April, Assemblea took part in the Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting in Viena, organised by the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. This year the meeting focused on the role of civil society in the protection of human rights, and brought together representatives of the OSCE participating states, institutions, inter-governmental organizations, and civil society.

The Coordinator of the International Commission of the Catalan National Assembly, Bàrbara Roviró, took the floor at the third session to denounce Spain’s judicial persecution of Catalan leaders and activists in order to stifle and criminalize dissent since the independence referendum on 1 October 2017.

Assemblea’s representative cited the case of the Tsunami Democràtic, a protest platform created in 2019 that organised massive demonstrations against the sentences of the Catalan pro-independence leaders. Despite the fact that it always encouraged non-violent action, Spain’s National High Court is pursuing terrorism charges against those who allegedly organised the platform. To escape this persecution, seven Catalan people have recently fled into exile, including activists, politicians and even a journalist.

Spain’s clear intention —by labelling dissidence as terrorism and criminalizing peaceful civil disobedience— is to cause “a chilling effect on Catalan activists and create an environment where individuals are afraid to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, and their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association” warned Roviró. This affects the legitimate work of civil society but also affects the Catalan pro-independence movement as a whole.

For all these reasons, the Catalan National Assembly has called on the OSCE authorities to take measures to ensure the Spanish authorities stop this persecution and criminalization of Catalan civil society, and of its right to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the right to self-determination of the Catalan people.

Assemblea, as part of its international advocacy work, participates regularly in international human rights meetings to advocate for Catalonia’s self-determination and to denounce violations of rights by Spanish institutions against the Catalan people.