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After the publication on Thursday of the United Nations Human Rights Committee resolution stating that Spain violated the political rights of Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont by suspending him as an MP in 2018 without "objective reasons foreseen by the law", the Spanish government has responded. Deputy prime minister and economic minister Nadia Calviño was the first to comment on the matter, affirming: "The resolution reaffirms that what Mr Puigdemont has to do is to come to Spain to go on trial."

Calviño reiterated her interpretation: "Exactly what is being said is that these matters must be judged." On the basis of that vision, she considers that Puigdemont must return to Spain, as she reiterated this in an interview with Catalunya Ràdio. In addition, she took the opportunity to state that, at the moment, Catalonia is experiencing "a moment of harmony". "Today's Catalonia has nothing to do with that of 2017, luckily. Those moments of confrontation are far away, we are in a moment of harmony," she said.

The UN conclusions

The UN Human Rights Committee, the body of independent experts set up by the UN to monitor state compliance with human rights standards, concluded that Spain violated Carles Puigdemont's political rights, as the decision to prosecute him for a crime of rebellion - which would automatically result in his suspension as an MP, even prior to a conviction - was not for "reasonable and objective" reasons provided for in the legislation. "Rebellion" under Spanish law is defined as a "violent and public uprising", which did not take place, nor was there any evidence for it. Thus, the United Nations asks Spain to adopt "all necessary measures to prevent similar violations from being committed in the future" and to publish the committee's text within 180 days. According to the committee, the publication of the opinion already means a "reparation" of the rights of Carles Puigdemont, but new violations must be avoided in the future.

In this regard, Puigdemont himself warned that his political rights continue to be violated because he cannot travel to Catalonia to carry out his work as an elected MEP. "It is time to remove all the Spanish obstacles that prevent minister Comín and myself from being able to exercise freely, fully, as members of the European Parliament, which is what more than a million people voted for," affirmed Puigdemont.