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6 d’abr. 2019

Conclusions on violations of rights in Catalonia in 2018

The Catalan Office of Civil and Political Rights issued, in January 2019, a short report on its activities. It has been translated unofficially into English by M.S.
Click here if need be to access the whole text.

Original source: http://economia.gencat.cat/ca/ambits-actuacio/dretscivilsipolitics/drets/conclusions-2018/


The Office of Civil and Political Rights came into operation three months ago in order to monitor and report violations of civil and political rights in Catalonia.

During this brief period of operation of the Office, contacts have been established with:
In order to share the work done so far, we have grouped and synthesized, under different representative headings (right to vote and political participation, right to freedom of expression, right of assembly, association and demonstration, or right to a fair trial) the communications about possible violations that you have sent us.

These conclusions will serve as a guideline for addressing the follow-up and denunciation activity throughout the year 2019 that now begins, which need to be based on five main lines of work:
  • dissemination and discussion; 
  • collaboration with the world of associations; 
  • reception and management of demands; 
  • support to government activity, and 
  • drafting annual and specific reports.

 

Right to vote and aliens


The right to universal suffrage (active and passive) of one in eight people living in Catalonia is barred or very limited because of their migratory past.

Except in the local and European elections (and even then, with many limitations), the right to vote is reserved to people with Spanish nationality. In addition, the deadlines and difficulties in obtaining this nationality mean that many of the people who are stably resident in Catalonia take 20 years on average to exercise their right to vote.

The boys and girls who arrived in Catalonia when they were children and who have grown up in our towns, cities and neighborhoods, where they have been enrolled, are not included in this group.

 

Right to political participation and self-determination


The exercise of the right of self-determination contained in the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights is repeatedly prevented.

Article 1 of the Covenant says that all peoples have the right to self-determination.

This is, therefore, a democratic right that ought to be foreseen when it comes to resolving political conflicts such as the one being witnessed in Catalonia.

The reality, however, is that neither the political institutions of the Spanish State nor the judiciary recognize this right we have and, therefore, no way of dialogue can be opened to envisage even the possibility of talking about it.

 

Freedom of expression


The exercise of the freedom of expression has been rolled back, we obseve, and this is closely related to the excessively restrictive interpretation that the judiciary makes of the scope of this right.

Condemnatory sentences for singers, comedians or tweeters are not explained solely by the emergence of new social networks or by the incorporation of new criminal figures. There is a third determining factor: the change in the criterion of the judiciary, which tends to narrow down and restrict the scope of the right to freedom of expression.

Right of Demonstration


 Organic Law 4/2015, of March 30, on the Protection of Citizen Security (LOSC), known as the "Gag law", threatens and limits, without any justification, the right to protest. This Law provides for heavy fines for, among other things:
  • protesting in certain places and circumstances; 
  • calling protests without prior authorization; 
  • photographing police officers
Many organizations and organizations that work for the defence of human rights claim that the LOSC constitutes a disproportionate limitation of the right of manifestation and expression.

At the same time,

The violent actions of the extreme right wing have increased exponentially.

About twenty groups linked to the extreme right wing have carried out 328 documented incidents and aggressions against freedom of expression and ideological plurality since January 2017.

Political persecution


There has been an increase in judicial persecution of political dissidence, especially as of October 2017.

Previous cases against the libertarian movement had already called cast doubts on the impartiality of the judiciary and the apparatus of the State in dealing with political dissidence.

However, the political repression of the October 1 referendum on self-determination surpassed these precedents and amounts to a backward step that affects democratic health in Spain and Catalonia.

Last update on 30 JAN 2019





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