The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) took part at the OSCE meeting on “Democratic Law-Making: Ensuring Participation” on 26 and 27 April to denounce the effects of Spanish  intromission in Catalonia’s policymaking and the use of politically motivated judicial persecution –lawfare— against democratically elected leaders and activists. These human rights violations are aimed at maintaining the territorial integrity of Spain.

ANC Board members Carles Fité, Erika Casajoana and Bàrbara Roviró took part in three sessions dealing with issues such as open and inclusive law-making, recent challenges and opportunities of law-making and public participation and the digital space. The three ANC members denounced the systematic obstruction of Catalan policy-making by Spanish authorities and called on them to respect, protect and promote the right to political participation of the Catalan representatives and civil society, and for OSCE experts to visit Catalonia and report on the situation.

Fité highlighted the increase of the use of lawfare since the Catalan independence referendum of October 2017: “Spanish authorities have launched a wave of politically motivated persecution against civil society activists and democratically elected representatives.” He also said that “Spain’s judiciary has actively intervened in Catalan parliamentary activity, abolishing laws and annulling resolutions on social, economic, civil and political rights passed by the Catalan chamber.”

Parliament Speaker in jail

Casajoana denounced the Spanish repression of former Assemblea president and Catalan Parliament Speaker Carme Forcadell: “Despite the calls of freedom by international organizations such as the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Amnesty International, Forcadell spent two years in pretrial detention and was sentenced to 11 years and six months of prison in 2019 for allowing a parliamentary debate on independence”.

Finally, Roviró denounced the cases of censorship and prosecution based on digital platforms: “Since 2017, Spanish authorities have been limiting the capacity of civil society organizations in Catalonia to develop their activities, using lawfare and political persecution, curtailing the right of freedom of expression and public participation.” She also alerted of Spanish lawfare targeting civil society NGOs like Assemblea “During the Spanish repression of the 2017 Catalan independence referendum, the Spanish Civil Guard shut down more than 200 websites, many of them with no prior judicial order, including the webpage of Assemblea. In a similar vein, a few months ago, a public campaign on consumer awareness promoted by our organization was suspended by a court as an interim measure and the website of the campaign was shut down.”

Assemblea regularly takes part in the meetings of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on human rights, where its representatives have carried out oral statements as well as turned in written statements to denounce violations of rights by Spanish institutions against the people of Catalonia.

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