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“Freedom of assembly in Catalonia not protected as it should be”

Expert in public protest law takes part in "Human rights regression in Spain" debate at the UN headquarters in Geneva


19 March 2018 01:10 PM


ACN | Geneva

"Freedom of assembly in Catalonia is not protected as it should be." This is what Michael Hamilton, an expert in public protest law, has stated. Hamilton is taking part in a conference called "Human rights regression in Spain" on Monday. Before the conference started, Hamilton spoke with the media, and claimed that "the right of freedom of assembly is a fundamental right." He highlighted that this right "includes the right to challenge the way in which a State is organised." "Having assemblies that question the status of Catalonia or that call of a referendum, as long as they remain peaceful, is freedom of peaceful assembly," noted Hamilton.

The Catalan issue landed at the UN headquarters on Monday. It is the second day that the current political situation in Catalonia is being discussed in the Swiss city of Geneva, since Carles Puigdemont took part in a debate on Sunday. The deposed Catalan president, as well as the former CUP MP Anna Gabriel attended the conference. 

Along with Hamilton, a former judge of the Spanish Supreme Court, José Antonio Martín Pallín, as well as Laura Masvidal, the wife of the jailed Catalan official Joaquim Forn, also took part in Monday's talk. The former judge of Spain's court criticized the role of the Spanish Constitutional court, since he considers that it is "exceeding its powers." According to him, the main goal of the Constitutional court is to "solve power conflicts between administrations."

  • "It is important to be here, as it is a cry for help in order to make people aware of what is happening in Catalonia"

    Laura Masvidal · Joaquim Forn's wife

Pallín stated that the ruling party in Spain, the People's Party, used the absolute majority that the party held in the Spanish parliament to give the Constitutional Court more powers than it should have.  

The wife of the jailed official Joaquim Forn, imprisoned following the Catalan parliament's independence declaration, said that she feels "defenceless" against the decisions made by Spain's judges. "It is important to be here, as it is a cry for help in order to make people aware of what is happening in Catalonia," stated Masvidal. In addition, Forn's wife stressed that "almost nobody defends pre-trail prison" for the imprisoned Catalan leaders.