human rights

Catalonia and 4 other Autonomous Communities oppose the Spanish Government's abortion reform

July 23, 2014 05:19 PM | ACN / Neringa Sinkeviciute

The governments of Catalonia, the Basque Country, Andalusia, Asturias and the Canaries have spoken out against the Spanish Executive's draft bill on the Protection of the Life of the Unborn and the Rights of the Pregnant Woman, presented in December 2013. This legislative reform, which still has to be approved in Parliament, aims to restrict the right of abortion only to cases of rape, incest or when the mother´s health is at serious risk. The reform of the People's Party (PP) is far more conservative than the previous laws from 2010 and 1985. It has raised a paramount opposition throughout Spanish society and also at European level. Catalonia and the 4 other Autonomous Communities that are not run by the PP presented this week a formal request to discuss this reform, as the Spanish Executive rejects talking about it with other parties and regional governments.

Brussels main think tank CEPS "postpones" at the last minute a debate on Catalan independence

June 17, 2014 07:32 PM | ACN

The Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) stated it cancelled a debate on the EU Membership of an independent Catalonia because they could not find a speaker arguing that Catalonia would be excluded from the EU. However, the Catalan Government and the Catalan Public Diplomacy Council (Diplocat) suspect the Spanish Government pressured the CEPS to cancel the debate, as it already tried to do with previous events. The Spanish Executive denied the accusations, which are also rejected by the CEPS. The event was organised weeks ago and was supposed to take place on Tuesday at 9.30am at the CEPS facilities, which is the most prestigious think tank in EU Affairs. It was "postponed" on Monday evening, just a few hours before it was due to start. A prestigious Constitutional expert, who advises the Catalan Government, Carles Viver i Pi-Sunyer, was supposed to present a report arguing that Catalonia would remain within the EU.

South-African Archbishop Desmond Tutu awarded the prestigious Premi Internacional Catalunya

May 8, 2014 09:33 PM | ACN

Desmond Tutu, the South-African Archbishop who fought the Apartheid regime and won the Nobel Peace Prize, has been awarded the 26th Premi Internacional Catalunya. This is the most prestigious prize given by the Catalan Government and follows the decision of an independent jury formed of high-profile professionals from Catalonia and abroad. The jury has chosen Tutu from 162 other names from 51 different countries for "his vigorous and constant fight for social justice and the improvement of living conditions of those oppressed". Last year, the Premi Internacional Catalunya was awarded to the former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland and to the young Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai for "their determination and courage in the defence of human rights". Other awardees have been Lula da Silva, Haruki Murakami, Jimmy Carter, Jacques Delors, Amartya Sen and Aung San Suu Kyi, among others.

A Catalan debate over Responsibility to Protect

November 29, 2013 04:16 PM | ACN

The Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (DIPLOCAT) organized on Friday in Barcelona a conference on the Responsibility to Protect. This UN-backed principle claims that all countries have the responsibility to protect their citizens from human rights violations. The Executive Director of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy, William Pace, argued that “the EU has in its DNA the responsibility to protect” and added that the attitude of the Catalan society is “also fundamental” in order to fight against “impunity for serious crimes”. The Secretary General of the DIPLOCAT, Albert Royo, said that “it is especially important” for Catalonia to “be able to explain which role it wants to play” in the international arena, now that is considering becoming an independent country.

The European Court of Human Rights temporarily stops the eviction of an apartment block near Girona

October 16, 2013 09:09 PM | ACN

The Court based in Strasbourg has answered the appeal of the lawyer representing the Mortgage Platform (PAH), which had occupied an entire apartment block in Salt, near the Catalan city of Girona. 16 families occupied the block in order to get a house, but 3 left fearing eviction. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has temporarily delayed the eviction of the entire apartment block as a precautionary measure until it has fully studied the case, arguing that evicting the families would go against international law on housing rights. The ECHR has given the Spanish Government 8 days to prove it has adopted the measures to guarantee such rights. The decision comes the day the eviction was planned. Families and a thousand supporters received the news crying of joy and shouting the PAH’s motto: “Yes, it can be done; yes, it can be done”.

Former Norway PM Gro H. Brundtland: It would be “very strange” if Catalonia were to leave the EU

July 26, 2013 06:21 PM | ACN / Maria Fernández Noguera

The winner of the 25th Premi Internacional Catalunya, Gro Harlem Brundtland has explained how receiving the award with Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai is “special as both are fighting for women’s rights”. The former Prime Minister of Norway and ex Secretary General of the World Health Organisation also stated how it would be “very strange” if Catalonia were to leave the EU in the event of a hypothetical independence from Spain. Brundtland also encourages Catalonia to invest and establish renewable energy systems as well as gender equality quotas in both politics and business.

Norway’s former PM Gro H. Brundtland and Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai awarded the ‘Premi Internacional Catalunya’

May 25, 2013 12:01 AM | CNA / Maria Fernández Noguera

Both women have been awarded Catalonia’s most prestigious prize for “their determination and courage in the defence of human rights”. Malala Yousafzai is the young activist in Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban for defending the right to education, particularly for female students. Gro Harlem Brundtland coined the term “sustainable development”, advocated for fighting climate change, was the Director of the World Health Organisation and had the luck to escape from Utoya’s deadly attack. Each year, the ‘Premi Internacional Catalunya’ is given to individuals who have greatly contributed to humankind’s development. Brazil’s former President Lula da Silva, received the prize last year. Other awardees include: Haruki Murakami, Jimmy Carter, Aung San Suu Kyi, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Doris Lessing, Jacques Delors, Amartya Sen and Karl Popper.

The ‘Ombudsman’ has “less influence” and is under “threat of disappearance”

November 21, 2011 09:22 PM | CNA / Esther Romagosa

In an international conference taking place in Barcelona of Ombudsmen from Europe, America and Africa, the Catalan Ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, has warned that the institution has “less influence”. Furthermore, in some areas of Europe there is a threat that they will “disappear”. The Ombudsmen have been discussing their role in the face of the privatisation of basic services. The conference has been organised with the ‘Cercle d’Economia’, which is mainly an economic forum, open to businesspeople, academics and economic professionals.

Journalist Ali Lmrabet challenges Moroccan regime by publishing a new online newspaper from Barcelona

June 20, 2011 11:14 PM | CNA / Maria Fernández Noguera / Albert Lladó Romero

Lmrabet was sent to jail in 2003 for writing about Morocco’s king and his supposed real estate interests. He was also banned from media. Finally he has created ‘Demain’, an online newspaper directed from Barcelona. It has the same name as the publication he had in Morocco, which was shut down by King Mohammed VI’s regime.

The Spanish Government will formally ask to restore Pau Casals’ anthem for the United Nations

February 22, 2011 10:28 PM | CNA / Maria José Fidalgo

The Catalan violoncello player and composer Pau Casals was asked in 1971 to create an anthem for the United Nations by the former Secretary General. However, after Pau Casals death and the change of UN Secretary General, the anthem was never played again. The Spanish Parliament’s Culture Commission came to an unanimous motion to ask the Spanish Government to push for the restoration of the United Nations official anthem.