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One hundred and sixteen international personalities have defended the mandate of Catalonia's 1st October 2017 independence referendum and the 52% majority that the pro-independence parties achieved in the Catalan parliamentary election on February 14th. The signatories, from some twenty countries around the world, have signed a manifesto promoted by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) calling for an end to the Spanish state's repression of the independence movement, as well as respect for the fundamental rights of those facing retaliation, the release of the prisoners and the recognition of the right of the self-determination of the people of Catalonia.

These 116 figures include the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Adolfo Pérez Esquível (Argentina), the former president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, the president of Sinn Féin, Mary Lou McDonald (Ireland), the former leader of the Bloco d’Esquerda and historian Fernando Rosas (Portugal), British MP and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Catalonia Hywel Williams (Wales), and former vice president of the European Parliament, José Pacheco-Pereira (Portugal); in addition to representatives of civil society such as the Argentine group Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, the European Network for Language Equality (ELEN), the National Council of the Székler people and several associations in support of the Rif people.

The manifesto denounces the judicial persecution faced by more than 3,000 people for their participation in the independence process and mentions the 2019 opinion of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which called for the immediate release of the Catalan political prisoners. At the same time, it asserts the lack of respect accorded to the presumption of innocence of the pro-independence leaders when they were put on trial and the lack of competence of the Supreme Court to try them, as well as other human rights violations that occurred during the trial that have been denounced by different international organizations.

In this regard, the signatories of the manifesto denounce "the ceaseless criminalization of the political will of the people of Catalonia by the Spanish state" which has led to the prosecution of nearly 3,300 people, as well as the "violation of fundamental rights such as the right to freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of assembly and political representation", as condemned by the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, member states of the United Nations in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review of human rights, and non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International, the World Organization Against Torture and the World Jurist Organization, among others.

ANC pressure on parties

The publication of this manifesto coincides with the calling of a demonstration by the ANC this Sunday to demand a pro-independence government under the slogan "Not like this! We want a government". The protest, to be held on Sunday morning in Barcelona, was called after the two major pro-independence parties ERC and Junts have moved further apart in recent days and the former has also included the left-wing Comuns group, which is not pro-independence, in their negotiations to attempt to form a new executive.

In this regard, the manifesto itself emphasizes the "historic result of an absolute majority in seats and votes" achieved on February 14th and reiterates that this ratifies "the will of the Catalan people to become an independent state". Finally, the signatories warn the international community that "it cannot continue ignoring" this claim in the face of the demand that Catalans have expressed at the polls.

Below, the manifesto with the complete list of signatories:



Main image: ANC demonstration to demand a pro-independence government after the pro-independence election victory on 14th February / Photo: Pau de la Calle