Should the EU intervene in the dispute on Catalonia?
Urgent action by the EU required in Catalonia
Alfred de Zayas
Independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Former Secretary of the UN Human Rights Committee
Spain’s violation of Article 1 of the UN Charter and Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) concerning the self-determination of peoples is aggravated by the arrest of political, social and cultural leaders, their physical abuse, persecution and prosecution by virtue of the criminalization of the exercise of freedom of expression, assembly and association, as well as by the instrumentalization of the judicial apparatus for intimidation and repression, the denial the democratic right to participate in the conduct of public affairs, the right to vote in a referendum, and the right to be elected and represent constituents in the European Parliament (articles 7, 9, 10, 14, 19, 21, 22 , 25, 26 and 27 ICCPR). Pursuant to articles 10(2) and 96 of the Spanish Constitution, these international human rights are part of the Spanish legal order.
The Council has invoked Article 7 with respect to Poland and Hungary, where the situation is less serious
This situation breaches Article 2 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which stipulates that “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.” Bearing in mind that Spain has ignored the reports of the Catalonian syndic (ombudsman), the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the UN Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Expression, Assembly, Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the European Council must now, pursuant to Article 7 of the Treaty of Lisbon, determine not only that “there is a clear risk of a serious breach … of the values referred to in Article 2”, but that the breach has occurred. The Council has invoked Article 7 with respect to Poland and Hungary, where the situation is less serious.
In my report to the GA (A/69/272) and to the UN Human Rights Council (A/HRC/37/63) I formulate 23 Principles of International Order, including the right of self-determination and elucidate the criteria for its exercise. Catalonians are a “people” and satisfy the criteria laid down in the reports. The argument by Spain that self-determination was achieved through decolonization is disproven by international practice, bearing in mind the progressive development of international law, including the 2010 Kosovo Advisory Opinion of the ICJ, which prioritizes the right of self-determination of peoples over the principle of territorial integrity of States.
The argument by Spain that self-determination was achieved through decolonization is disproven by international practice
Catalonians are European citizens and have a right to protection by the European Commission. The EU’s credibility is at stake.
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L’Union européenne doit-elle intervenir pour la Catalogne ?
L’argument de l’Espagne que l’autodétermination a été accomplie par la décolonisation est réfuté par la pratique internationale, qui, en gardant en tête le développement progressif du droit international et l’opinion consultative de la Cour internationale de justice sur le Kosovo en 2010, donne la priorité au droit à l’autodétermination des peuples par rapport au principe de l’intégrité territoriale des Etats.