The actions of the Spanish state since President Puigdemont called for a referendum on Catalan independence in October 2016 have been nothing short of shameful. As a liberal democracy which is a member of the United Nations and the European Union, as well as a signatory to the Charter of the United Nations, Universal Declaration on Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, the Spanish state has undermined and trampled on the rights of the Catalan people. All of the above allow for the right of self-determination of peoples and/or the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.
The Spanish government has repeatedly failed to engage in constructive dialogue with the Catalan parliament. When threats failed, it engaged in excessive and unnecessary force on the 1st October 2017 injuring hundreds of civilians for exercising their human rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Since then, the Spanish state imposed direct rule from Madrid, arrested several high-profile individuals who have campaigned for Catalan independence, and has issued several arrest warrants for numerous politicians, including Professor Clara Ponsatí, director of the Economics and Finance department at St Andrews University.
We urge the British and European governments, as well as members of the United Nations, to take actions to support the right of Catalans to choose their future and to urge the Spanish government to comply with the statutes of international law which as a member of the United Nations and the European Union it is duty-bound to respect. The blatant disregard for democracy and human rights is not only an attack on the people of Catalonia but an attack on our liberal values of liberty, equality and human rights.
We fully support President Puigdemont, Professor Ponsatí and other individuals who have been unjustly charged and have had warrants issued for their arrests. We call for the immediate release of those unjustly imprisoned for supporting the independence of Catalonia. We furthermore urge the Spanish state to allow the people of Catalonia to hold a fair and free referendum on their nation’s future and to respect the outcome of the result.