Campaign launched calling on Europe to act on Catalan situation

‘Europe, make a move’ aims to send letters to heads of Germany, France, Ireland, Portugal, and Finland asking for help regarding leaders in jail or abroad

Members of the Catalan Association of Civil Rights and other pro-independence bodies at presentation of 'Europe, make a move' campaign (by ACN)
Members of the Catalan Association of Civil Rights and other pro-independence bodies at presentation of 'Europe, make a move' campaign (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

April 4, 2018 02:20 PM

‘Europe, make a move.’ This is the title of a campaign launched on Wednesday by the Catalan Association for Civil Rights (ACDC), an organization which brings together relatives of pro-independence leaders either in jail or abroad. Their objective is to fill the offices of the heads of government of five European countries with letters from Catalans calling for “help” with regard to the situation in Catalonia, and denouncing “the violation of rights” in the country.

ACDC has prepared a letter in five different languages for Germany, Finland, France, Ireland, and Portugal to be signed and sent by Catalans to the heads of state of each country. The idea is to send so many of the letters in such a concentrated period of time in order to make an “impact by saturation.”

In order to achieve this “massive” distribution of the letter, ACDC also counts on the support of pro-independence parties and bodies such as Omnium Cultural and the Catalan National Assembly (ANC).

The aim of the letter, presented on Wednesday, is to make a “cry for help” by those “who are committed to democratic values and the defence of human rights.”

“We cannont avoid nor look the other way with regard to what is happening in Catalonia,” the letter states, asking for “help” from European leaders and institutions.”

“Violation of fundamental rights”

The letter denounces “judicial, police, and governmental actions severely violating the fundamental rights recognized by the European Convention of Human Rights, the EU’s charter of fundamental rights, and the Spanish constitution itself.”

According to the letter, the application of Article 155 of Spain’s constitution is a “breach” of constitutional law. It also condemns the “use of physical violence against citizens participating in a referendum,” and the judicial persecution against politicians. It makes reference to what it deems as the “disproportionate preventive imprisonment” of members of the dismissed Catalan government, regarding leaders currently in jail.

Finally, the letter recalls that the European community was created with the objective of preventing authoritarianism and fascism from rising in its member states. "Today, the mission and founding soul of the EU is at risk from the moment it allows an authoritarian drift by one of its member states, without any reaction preventing it", the letter reads.

Five EU governments

The choice of the heads of government to send the letter to was made strategically. Germany and France were chosen as they are seen by the group to have more influence in the EU. Meanwhile, Finland, Ireland, and Portugal were chosen because they are believed to have more “sensitivity to the right of self-determination.”

“It will be a strong campaign if many people send (the letter) and the heads of state see bags full of the same letter,” explained Betona Comín, sister of Toni Comín who is currently in Belgium alongside other members of the deposed government.

The wife of jailed leader Joaquim Forn, Laura Masvidal, commented that sending the letters in bulk well represents the “way of doing things” of pro-independence supporters. “We like to express ourselves with words, with dialogue,” Masvidal said.

“It is essential to internationalize our voice, to make us heard, and only we know how to do it, through dialogue and word,” said the president of Omnium Cultural, Marcel Mauri, who attended the presentation.  

Copies of the letter are already available through ACDC’s website, but on April 23, Sant Jordi day (Saint George’s Day,) pro-independence parties and organizations will also distribute it.