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There are countries - such as Spain - which "present themselves as being first class democracies when it is not in fact so", and this tendency is "extremely dangerous and a grave menace to democracy". That was one of the key points made by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) in its presentation at the Human Dimension Conference held by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) this Tuesday and Wednesday, an event held in the Polish capital of Warsaw with a focus on the defence of human rights and democracy on the European continent. The meeting brings together international organizations, governments and civil society groups to contribute to the protection and promotion of human rights, and it was in this context that the Catalan pro-independence grass roots organization denounced the actions of the Spanish authorities in Catalonia over recent years: a "repressive wave against political dissidence" directed at the independence movement, that is "eroding the principles of rule of law and democracy".

In a session of the multilateral organization's conference focusing on the state of democratic institutions, the ANC's national secretary Jordi Vilanova detailed the repression carried out by the Spanish authorities in Catalonia since the independence referendum just on five years ago, on October 1st 2017: ranging from the political persecution of elected representatives and Catalan independence activists, through to the recently-exposed scandal of large scale espionage using Pegasus spyware. "Since 2017, more than 3,000 people have been imprisoned, fined, prosecuted, banned from office or are still awaiting trial". The ANC representative stressed that the institutions of the European Union have also been affected by the repression of the Spanish state against the Catalans, with exiled president Carles Puigdemont and other MEPs having had their parliamentary rights and immunity violated.

Call on the OSCE to visit Catalonia

Vilanova also highlighted the fact that the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations has recently denounced that the State "violated the political rights contained in Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of four members of the Catalan Parliament by suspending them in 2018 from their public functions before they had been convicted, thus violating the political rights of millions of citizens who voted for them". Finally, Vilanova called on the OSCE authorities, especially the OSCE Commissioner for National Minorities, to visit Catalonia, investigate the reported facts, and take measures so that the Spanish authorities cease their political persecution against representatives and Catalan political activists.