Fifty international figures have signed a manifesto entitled "Dialogue for Catalonia", calling for, among other measures, an amnesty for the Catalan political prisoners, politicians in exile, and all of the thousands affected by the Spanish state's ongoing judicial proceedings against the Catalan independence process.
"The undersigned urge the Spanish government and its Catalan counterparts to enter into unconditional dialogue in order to find a political solution enabling the citizens of Catalonia to decide their political future. For dialogue to succeed, political repression must end and there should be an amnesty for those prosecuted", declares the manifesto which is published today in The Washington Post and The Guardian. It is promoted by the Catalan group Òmnium Cultural and can be accessed online.
Signatories include former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff; the Irish politician and peace process figure, Gerry Adams; conceptual artist and activist Yoko Ono; and exiled Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei.
As well, the manifesto is signed by five Nobel laureates, four of them winners of the Nobel Peace Prize - Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, Argentine pacifist Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, American human rights activist Jody Williams and Northern Ireland peace activist Mairead Corrigan, in addition to the Nobel Prize winner for literature, Elfriede Jelinek, of Austria.
The manifesto, which recalls the statements of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and leading world humanitarian organizations denouncing the violation of rights against the jailed Catalan leaders, emphasizes that "a majority of the people of Catalonia have repeatedly expressed their will to democratically exercise their right to decide their political future” and denounces that "the use of the judicial system to resolve a political crisis has only brought growing repression ... and no solution”.
Activists and intellectuals
Among the political activists who have signed the text are the founder of Argentina's Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, Mirta Baravalle, the director of the Martin Luther King Institute, Clayborn Carson, and the director of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Peace Studies, Iranian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo; also supporting the manifesto are Portuguese writer António Lobo Antunes and Irishman Colm Toibin, and singer and activist Joan Baez, among others.
From Catalonia's Lledoners prison, the jailed president of the pro-independence Òmnium Cultural group, Jordi Cuixart, has stated that the signatories are, once again, denouncing “the Spanish state's non-compliance with international law” and underlined the “serious anomaly” that exists given that an EU state is ignoring the UN and the world’s leading human rights organizations.
Campaign for an amnesty
The manifesto is part of the campaign promoted by the Òmnium group to show the support around Catalonia and beyond for the right to self-determination and an amnesty to end prosecutions.
On March 15th, the Catalan pro-independence parties are scheduled to present a proposal to the Spanish Congress for an amnesty law to end political prosecutions in relation to the Catalan independence process and issue. The proposal for a law was passed by the Catalan Parliament before Christmas.