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Catalan representatives to send a complaint to international organisations against Spanish Government for blocking self-determination

More than 200 elected members of the European, Spanish and Catalan Parliaments and municipal councils from Catalonia have presented and started to sign on Wednesday an international complaint against the Spanish Government that will be sent to the United Nations, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). They are formally accusing the Spanish Government of "violating the right of the Catalan people to decide on its own political future" and "banning the exercise of democracy ". They list reasons of democratic legitimacy, stress the sustained self-determination demands and highlight the manifold Catalan attempts to negotiate and hold a legal vote. They also emphasise the Spanish Government's total blocking attitude and they announce that Catalan representatives "feel legitimate to launch all the necessary political and legal actions". Finally, they also ask those international organisations to act in order "to guarantee that Catalonia's citizenry can democratically decide on its future".

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05 November 2014 09:20 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- More than two hundred elected members of the European, Spanish and Catalan Parliaments and municipal councils from Catalonia have started to sign on Wednesday an international complaint against the Spanish Government that will be sent to the United Nations, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). They are formally accusing the Spanish Government of "violating the right of the Catalan people to decide on its own political future" and "banning the exercise of democracy through a referendum or an internationally standardised consultation vote". They list reasons of democratic legitimacy, stress the Catalan people's sustained self-determination demands and highlight that Catalan representatives have tried all the possible legal ways for holding a legal self-determination vote. They also emphasise the Spanish Government's total blocking attitude, which "goes against international practice". Furthermore, they announce that Catalan representatives "feel legitimate to launch all the necessary political and legal actions to know the will of the majority of the Catalan people". Finally, they also ask those international organisations to act in order "to guarantee that Catalonia's citizenry can democratically decide its future".


The petition was presented on Wednesday at the Catalan Parliament and it has been signed by representatives from the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU – which runs the Catalan Government and brings together a Christian-Democrat and a Liberal party; the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC; and, the Catalan green socialist and post-communist coalition ICV-EUiA. The leaders of the CiU, ERC and ICV-EUiA groups in the Catalan Parliament – Jordi Turull, Oriol Junqueras and Dolors Camats, respectively – as well as the President of the Chamber, Núria de Gispert, were the first representatives to sign the complaint. Some 200 have followed them and more names will be added in the coming days. In fact, the alternative left and radical independence party CUP did not attend the ceremony but stated through a press release that after November 9's vote they will add their names to the petition.

"We are here today to send a complaint to the main international institutions regarding the deeply anti-democratic attitude of the Spanish State and its largest political parties", stated Junqueras. Camats has criticised the quality of Spain's democracy, which takes sovereignty away from the citizens, she said. "When the law and the Constitution are used as shields to avoid words and votes, when Courts are being used to avoid dialogue, when economic decisions make the population suffer more, when there is no social justice nor equality, then we are at risk of transforming democracy into a mere simulation", argued the Eco-Socialist leader. Finally, Turull stated that the Catalan Government and the political parties will use "all means necessary to stop the Spanish State's attack, which uses the laws and the Constitution to put fundamental rights in pre-constitutional times", he said referring to Franco dictatorship.

A petition for the UN, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the OSCE

The 3-page document is divided into three main parts. In the first one, the signers recall the main events that have driven the Catalan society to the current situation. They stress the democratic legitimacy of the self-determination demands, which has always respected the principles of legality, dialogue, negotiation and social cohesion, and they accuse the Spanish stance of going against democratic standards of plurinational states and recent evolutions of international law. Secondly, they inform the aforementioned international institutions that Catalan representatives have tried all the legal ways to vote and that the Spanish authorities have adopted a no-to-everything attitude. Therefore, Catalan representatives "feel legitimate to launch all the required political and legal actions" to honour "the democratic mandate" and guarantee that Catalans will be able to vote on their own future, and, "based on the vote's results, to act accordingly". Finally, they ask the international community and the aforementioned institutions "to make all the necessary actions to guarantee that Catalonia's citizenry can democratically decide its political future".

The main steps leading to the current situation

The first part of the document is split into 4 main points, which have subsequent minor bullet points. Firstly, the document states that "the people of Catalonia has the nature of a sovereign political and subject, for reasons of democratic legitimacy". "As such, it grants itself the right to decide its own political future". Then the petition recalls Catalonia's long tradition of self-government, its historical rights, how Spanish authorities trimmed Catalonia's statute of autonomy between 2005 and 2010, and the reaction of the Catalan people through a massive demonstration in July 2010.

Secondly, the document emphasises that "in the last few years the Catalan people has repeatedly expressed, directly or through its political representatives, its will to decide its own future". The petition then recalls the pro-independence massive demonstration organised on Catalonia's National Day in 2012, 2013 and 2014. It also highlights the "unequivocal mandate" from the last Catalan Parliament elections (November 2012) in which a wide majority of citizens voted for parties supporting the organisation of a self-determination vote. Based on such mandate, two thirds of the Catalan Parliament approved a 'Declaration of Sovereignty' in January 2013 to launch a self-determination process, but the Spanish authorities banned such a declaration. In addition, in September 2014, 96% of the Catalan municipalities issued motions backing the organisation of a self-determination vote.

Thirdly, the document also highlights that Catalan representatives tried to reach agreements with the Spanish authorities on many occasions, but they were all rejected, and therefore they used the Catalan legal framework to hold the self-determination vote. They mention the attempts to organise a referendum mutually agreed with the Spanish authorities, the consensus reached in Catalonia for organising a consultation vote on November 9 and the approval in September 2014 of the Catalan Law on Consultation Votes. However, Spanish authorities banned Catalonia's actions once again and an alternative and non-binding participatory-process was launched to allow Catalans to at least give their opinion, but this process has also been appealed against.

Fourthly, the signers state that the Spanish stance goes against "the international practice of plurinational states and the international law". They justify such a statement by recalling that Canada's Supreme Court recognised Quebec's right to self-determination even if it was not explicitly recognised in the Constitution because of the democratic principle on which the legal framework is based. It also mention the agreement reached between the British and Scottish governments. Furthermore, it mentions a verdict of the International Court of Justice from the 22nd July of 2010, in which this body concludes that right to self-determination has evolved and that no rule or habit against this evolution has appeared at international level. Therefore, in the 21st century, the right to self-determination can be exercised to allow specific peoples and political communities to democratically elect their future.

Catalan representatives inform the international community that they "feel legitimate" to act

The second part of the document is also divided into four points, although no minor bullet points are included this time. Firstly, the signers inform the aforementioned institutions that "the Catalan institutions, with the support of a majority of the citizenry, have used all the legal ways to organise a referendum or a consultation vote on Catalonia's political future, which includes the option of independence" from Spain. Secondly, they "acknowledge the Spanish Government's lack of political will to set dialogue and negotiation frameworks" and they "also acknowledge its permanent denial to allow the Catalan people to exercise their right to decide" on its future.

Thirdly, the petition emphasises "the accumulation of difficulties and negative answers by the Spanish State's main political and judicial institutions, which constantly reject all the proposals that have been sent from Catalonia, reflects a clear political and democratic involution, clearly aiming to weaken Catalonia's self-government". "This involution is today expressed with an absolute clarity in political, jurisdictional, financial, social, cultural and linguistic aspects", it states. Therefore, based on all the previous points, Catalan representatives "feel legitimate to launch all the necessary political and legal actions that will allow to know the will of the majority of the Catalan people about its political future and, afterwards, to act consequently and following this democratic mandate".

A clear petition to the international community: react and allow Catalans to vote

Finally, the document concludes with a clear and direct petition to the international community and the organisations receiving the complaint: "based on the United Nations' Foundational Charter and the successive international pacts and treaties that guarantee the rights of peoples to decide their political future, we ask the United Nations, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to launch all the necessary actions to guarantee that Catalonia's citizenry can democratically decide its future".

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  • Catalan MPs signing the petition to international organisations to react (by T. Cuartiella)

  • Catalan MPs signing the petition to international organisations to react (by T. Cuartiella)