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Council of Europe calls for an investigation into Spain’s police violence on referendum day

The Commissioner for Human Rights states that Spain’s police use of force was "disproportionate" and "unnecessary"

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09 October 2017 12:15 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Nils Muiznieks, urged Spanish home affairs minister, José Ignacio Zoido, to investigate Spain’s police actions during the October 1 referendum. In a letter sent on October 4 to the Spanish home affairs minister, Muiznieks called for an “independent and effective” investigation into Spain’s police violence which aimed to block the independence referendum.

The Commissioner also stressed that Spanish police use of force against voters was "disproportionate" and "unnecessary" and claimed that starting an investigation into police violence on referendum day should help to prevent an "escalation of tension and violence" and to preserve confidence in civil servants.

Zoido responded to the Commissioner on October 6. The Spanish home affairs minister stated that Spain’s police action was "cautious, appropriate and proportioned in order to ensure compliance with the law and the protection of the rights and freedoms of all citizens."

  • "Spain’s police action was cautious, appropriate and proportioned in order to ensure compliance with the law and the protection of the rights and freedoms of all citizens"

    José Ignacio Zoido · Spanish home affairs minister

Merkel and Juncker talk about Catalan situation

Recently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, spoke about the crisis in Catalonia by telephone, according to European Union sources. The conversation between the German chancellor and the president of the European Commission is a sign that the conflict between Catalonia and Spain clearly concerns European states.

"They talked about the situation in Spain, among other things," said the European Union source. Nevertheless, no further details about the conversation were provided due to its confidentiality. The call between both European leaders took place on October 6, when the president of the European Commission was in India to attend the summit between that country and the European Union. According to the same source, the crisis in Spain could have a serious "economic impact".

European Parliament debates on Catalonia

The Catalan crisis was also one of the issues discussed in the European Parliament plenary session last week. During the debate, all the European parliamentary groups called for dialogue and denounced Spain’s police violence on referendum day. Nevertheless, they did not agree on the European institutions’ role in the conflict.

The EPP and the S&D refused to mediate between the Catalan and the Spanish governments and warned the Catalan government against declaring independence unilaterally. On the other hand, left-wing parliamentary groups urged the European institutions to get involved and to mediate between the Catalan and the Spanish governments.  

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  • The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Nils Muiznieks, at the meeting on “ Specific threats to fundamental rights in Europe” (by EP)

  • The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Nils Muiznieks, at the meeting on “ Specific threats to fundamental rights in Europe” (by EP)

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