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7 de des. 2018

ELEN GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION on Catalonia

Here is the text of the ELEN GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION on Catalonia, proposed by Plataforma per la Llengua and adopted by the Plenary, 3rd November 2018

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ELEN GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION

Proposed by Plataforma per la Llengua and adopted by the Plenary
Saturday 3rd November 2018

The imprisonment of ministers of the Catalan government and the presidents of the two widest civil society organizations is a blatant violation of human rights recognized in the core international treaties ratified by Spain in this matter, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and the values of liberty and democracy enshrined in article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union. The charges of rebellion against these people do not make any sense due to the fact that no violence was used in the actions of the Catalan government to organize the self-determination referendum which was held on October 1st 2017, nor the civil society organizations and the citizens that took part in the voting and in demonstrations used violence at any point. This fact has been recognized by judicial bodies of several European States (Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Belgium), which have established that there is no legal basis for prosecution against exiled politicians on these grounds. Thus, it is clear that the nine people whose freedom is denied are in prison for political reasons only. 

In addition to this violation of basic human rights, the political prisoners who will stand trial at the beginning of 2019 will not be allowed to use Catalan because the Supreme Court is located in Madrid. The Spanish Law on the Judiciary does not recognize the possibility of using languages other than Spanish in procedures held before judicial bodies located outside autonomous regions where other languages hold official status along Spanish, thus undermining the right of those accused to the best possible self-defence and proving that Spain does not recognize the same linguistic rights other democratic states do recognize to language communities having similar dimensions as those of Catalan, like Belgium, Finland, Switzerland or Canada. Besides, this view has been repeatedly upheld by the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which has stated in its last reports that Spain does not honour its commitments in the Charter with regards to language rights in the judiciary. The right to use a language like Catalan before court has also been endorsed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in its Oslo Recommendations on the linguistic rights of national minorities. 

The permanent persecution does not only apply to the political prisoners and the exiles, but also to more than seven hundred mayors who are being prosecuted, as well as activists and artists only because of advocating for Catalan independence. For instance, several militants of the Republic Defence Committees (CDR) have been charged on terrorism for taking part in protests which are deemed legitimate in the Spanish legal order, such as road cuts in the framework of a general strike, and rap singers have been charged with crown defamation and apology of terrorism for the content of their songs. 

One activist and one artist sought exile in Belgium and, after Spain requested their extradition, the Belgian courts stated again that there was no legal basis for prosecuting them.

For these reasons, ELEN calls: 

 On Spain:

  • -To recognize the right of those standing trial to use Catalan and to guarantee that all citizens can speak Catalan in judicial proceedings, since the current lack of recognition to use the language in court is a grave linguistic discrimination. 
  • -To accept the findings of the courts of other European States and cease prosecution of politicians, civil society leaders, activists and artists for politically-motivated reasons, thus freeing the political prisoners and allowing the return of the exiles.
  • -To respect the right to freedom of speech, thought and assembly. 

 On the European Union 

As long as Spain does not cease prosecution of citizens for political motives, thus violating the principles of liberty and democracy that article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union impose to all EU member States:
  • - To launch an impartial inquiry on the independence and neutrality of the Spanish judiciary
  • -To open infringement proceedings on Spain under article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union for not complying with the values of liberty and democracy set in Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union. 
  • -For the same reason, to consider the suspension of certain rights deriving from the application of the Treaties to Spain, including the voting rights of the representatives of the Spanish government in the Council, as established in article 7 of the Treaty on the European Union. 
  • -To recognize the right to self-determination, as enshrined in article 1 of the United Nations Charter.
This resolution will be forwarded to the Spanish government, the Catalan government, the European Commission, the President of the European Parliament and the President of the European Council.



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