On Wednesday 20th September, SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, Ruth Maguire, joined with other SNP MSP colleagues to send a letter to President of the European Union Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, urging him to uphold democracy in Catalonia.

As the independence-seeking nation prepares for a referendum on 1st October, this week has seen concerning reports about the actions of the Spanish Government, which opposes Catalan independence – including the raiding of Catalan Government buildings, the use of armed paramilitary policing to confiscate political materials, and the detention of high-ranking Catalan Government officials.

Referring to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), the letter states that:

“The principle of self-determination is resolute and universal. A principle that upholds democracy and enshrines human rights. To that end, the actions of the Spanish Government in continuing to repress a free and fair referendum on the constitutional future of Catalonia directly contravenes this principle of self-determination and further directly infringes upon the civil and political liberties of the people of Catalonia.”

It concludes by calling on the European Commission to enact the following:

“To condemn the ongoing repressive actions of the Spanish Government with respect to denying a referendum on the constitutional future of Catalonia; To adopt a formal, interventionist position with respect to the actions of the Spanish Government to ensure that a free, fair and non-intrusive referendum is held within Catalonia; And to act as a mediator with the intentions of brokering a diplomatic, peaceful negotiation between the Spanish and Catalan Government’s, ensuring that the principles of self-determination are upheld and that the human rights and civil liberties for people of Catalonia are adhered.”

The Scottish Government has also expressed its concern about events in Catalonia. External affairs minister, Fiona Hsylop, made a statement in support of a Catalan referendum at the weekend – and this position was reiterated by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday 21st September.

Commenting, Ruth said:

“Whilst the Spanish Government has every right to disagree about whether Catalonia should be independent, the people of Catalonia have the right to self-determine.

Like many others, I have been shocked by the excessively authoritarian and anti-democratic actions of the Spanish Government this week – and condemn these wholeheartedly.

I was pleased to add my name to the letter to President of the European Union Commission urging him to uphold democracy in Catalonia – and hope for an urgent and constructive response.”

 

Full Text of the Letter:

20th September 2017

Dear President Juncker,

 The principle of self-determination: Referendum on the future of Catalonia

We, the undersigned, write in reference to the principle of self-determination, as enshrined within Article One of the Charter of United Nations.

Noted from the recent unfolding events in Catalonia, the principle of self-determination appears to have been undermined through the actions of the Spanish Government. It has been reported that armed Guardia Civil has raided, arrested and detained members of the democratically elected Catalan Government, with further infringements upon the civil liberties of the Catalan people enacted through the forceful removal of referendum ballot papers and literature.

We believe that the actions inflicted upon the Catalan people directly contravenes The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), namely: the freedom of expression (Article 19); the right of peaceful assembly (Article 21); the right to freedom of association with others (Article 22); the right and opportunity to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives (Article 25); the right to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors (Article 25).

The principle of self-determination is resolute and universal. A principle that upholds democracy and enshrines human rights. To that end, the actions of the Spanish Government in continuing to repress a free and fair referendum on the constitutional future of Catalonia directly contravenes this principle of self-determination and further directly infringes upon the civil and political liberties of the people of Catalonia.

We call upon the European Commission to enact the following:

To condemn the ongoing repressive actions of the Spanish Government with respect to denying a referendum on the constitutional future of Catalonia; To adopt a formal, interventionist position with respect to the actions of the Spanish Government to ensure that a free, fair and non-intrusive referendum is held within Catalonia; And to act as a mediator with the intentions of brokering a diplomatic, peaceful negotiation between the Spanish and Catalan Government’s, ensuring that the principles of self-determination are upheld and that the human rights and civil liberties for people of Catalonia are adhered.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Christina McKelvie MSP

Clare Adamson MSP

Angus MacDonald MSP

Graeme Dey MSP

Kenneth Gibson MSP

Fulton MacGregor MSP

Richard Lyle MSP

Ivan McKee MSP

Gillian Martin MSP

Stuart McMillan MSP

Willie Coffey MSP

Mairi Gougeon MSP

Clare Haughey MSP

Emma Harper MSP

Bob Doris MSP

Rona MacKay MSP

Colin Beattie MSP

Alex Neil MSP

Maree Todd MSP

Ash Denham MSP

Sandra White MSP

Ben MacPherson MSP

Ruth Maguire MSP

Linda Fabiani MSP