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UN independent expert on the promotion of democracy urges Juncker to mediate for Catalonia

Alfred-Maurice De Zayas is “concerned” about the “evidence of violations of fundamental principles of human rights and international law, including the rule of law, and self-determination"

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25 September 2017 01:11 PM

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ACN | Brussels

UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order Alfred-Maurice De Zayas has demanded that European Commission (EC) president Jean-Claude Juncker act as mediator in the conflict between Catalonia and Spain. In a letter addressed to the EC president, De Zayas admits that he’s “concerned” by “evidence of violations of fundamental principles of human rights and international law, including the rule of law, and self-determination.” De Zayas further encourages Juncker to “mediate so as to ensure the respect of all human rights and European Law in Catalonia.” This letter has also been sent to António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Worried about false flag activities

“It is imperative to facilitate dialogue and thus maintain the social peace,” the UN expert maintains, adding that he’s also “worried about any ’false flag activities’ that might aggravate the situation and lead to violence and death.” Inasmuch, he deems it “opportune” for “the European Commission to offer its good offices to mediate the differences between the authorities in Barcelona and Madrid.”

As well as to Juncker, De Zayas addressed the letter to EC Vice-Presidents Frans Timmermans and Valdis Dombrovskis, as well as to EC commissioner of Justice Vera Jourová. A copy of the letter was also sent to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who De Zayas “personally urged” to “go public on this issue of human rights and social peace.”

Endorses Catalonia’s Right to Decide

In the letter, De Zayas also declares his endorsement for the report ‘Catalonia’s Right to Decide’ by a commission of International Experts. This was presented and co-authored by Professor Nicolas Levrat, head of the International Law Department at the University of Geneva. 

  • "It is imperative to facilitate dialogue and thus maintain the social peace"

    Alfred-Maurice De Zayas · UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order

Is this censorship?

There’s still more information to be found on the personal website of the UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic an equitable international order. On his blog, De Zayas posted a media statement that he wrote on September 20 calling for “calm and respect for all human rights in Catalonia.” He deems it “a matter of urgency,” yet, as he explains, “the Office has thus far refused to issue my statement.”

“Is this censorship?” he asks. Letting this specific question go unanswered, he does, however, write this: “Any person committed to human rights has a duty to speak out, but many in Brussels and elsewhere seem to prefer silence.”

An appeal to Spain and to the European Commission

In the text, he states that since 2015, he’s received “communications from representatives of civil society” in Catalonia about “a cluster of violations of human rights and the rule of law by the Spanish government.” De Zayas goes on to note that they were “duly transmitted to the Spanish government,” but “without the desired effect.”

Citing the Spanish Consitution itself in defense of Catalonia’s right to self-determination, he further “calls on the government of Spain” to respect the right of the people of Catalonia to exercise the democratic right of freedom of expression” as with organizing a referendum, comparing it to Quebec, Scotland, and Montenegro. He also calls on the European Commission to “defend the right of the Catalan people to express their identity” adding that the EC should “condemn the use of direct and indirect force” in this case. Lastly, the independent expert calls on Spain to “suspend all measures of repression” against Catalans and “cease interfering with the exercise of fundamental democratic rights.

An expression of human dignity 

De Zayas has further proclaimed himself in support of Catalonia's right to self-determination on his personal Twitter. On the platform, he wrote statuses such as "self-determination is democracy as democracy is self-determination." He also asked a question to the larger community: "Self-determination is an expression of human dignity. Who can deny this right to the Kurds, the Tamils, the Catalans?"

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  • EC president Jean-Claude Juncker (by Laura Pous ACN)