"[During the independence referendum] on 1st October, article 2 of the Treaty of Lisbon was violated. Brussels can't stay quiet, there should be consequences." That was the comment by UN independent expert Alfred de Zayas relating to the police violence against the Catalan referendum. This article states that "the Union's aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples".
De Zayas was speaking in a debate at the UN in Geneva on Catalonia, where he also defended the right to self-determination: "there's nothing more democratic than a referendum". He called on the United Nations to fight for nations to have the rights to self-determination and said that they should promote more referendums and mediate between the different parties in such conflicts. "The right to self-determination is superior to that of a territory's integrity," he argued.
The case of Catalonia, therefore, remains present at the UN. After the debate on the regression of human rights in Spain which took place on Monday, today the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva has held an event on the right to self-determination. Taking part were Alfred de Zayas, as well as University of Geneva professor Nicolas Levrat and Jaume López, a professor at Barcelona's Pompeu Fabra University. The event was introduced by MEP Jordi Solé (ERC).
Levrat defended Catalonia's right to self-determination, saying it's a universal right. He also argued that the right to decide is a way to "promote democracy". He added that European citizens have to be represented in the European institutions and that he doesn't believe that the Catalans are well-represented.
López, for his part, also defended the Catalans' right to decide and attacked Spain for "ignoring the request of 80% of Catalans who want to celebrate a referendum". He, moreover, asked how "a territory can keep itself in Spain without the majority of its citizens wanting it". López summarised the Catalan independence process since the Spanish Supreme Court's verdict on the new Statute of Autonomy in 2010 and argued that the right to hold a referendum "is not a question of laws but one of democracy and the recognition of the Catalans". "If the EU is federal, the modification of borders should be contemplated," he said.
In another show of unity by the independence movement, the event was also attended by representatives of the three Catalan pro-independence parties: Josep Costa, deputy speaker in the Parliament from JxCat, Meritxell Serret, a minister from ERC and Anna Gabriel, former CUP deputy. President Carles Puigdemont, however, was not present, despite still being in Geneva.
Translator's note: I don't have access to the speakers' full original remarks, so I have had to back-translate some comments from the Catalan. As such, they might not be word-for-word what was said in English.