Independent expert proposes UN hold Catalan referendum

International law professor calls on intergovernmental body to mediate and monitor a vote on self-determination in Catalonia

Alfred-Maurice de Zayas
Alfred-Maurice de Zayas / ACN


September 28, 2017 04:23 PM

The United Nations should mediate and help Catalonia to organize a referendum on self-determination. That is the advice of an independent UN expert for the promotion of democracy, Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, to the Secretary General of the United Nations. De Zayas is an expert in history and international law and has largely worked in the field of human rights.

De Zayas says in an interview that recent events in Catalonia make his proposal "much more urgent". The United Nations has a responsibility to maintain regional and international peace, says De Zayas. “The United Nations can provide its advisory services to organize a well monitored referendum,” he added.

The UN expert stressed that Catalans "absolutely" have the right to express themselves in processes such as those in Scotland or Quebec, and he was critical that freedom of expression might be repressed in Europe. He also pointed out that “the right to self-determination belongs to peoples" and added that the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognizes this “fundamental” right.