The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has called for the immediate release of three imprisoned pro-independence leaders: activists Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, and former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras.
A report by the group, published by the ‘Nació Digital’ and ‘El País’ newspapers, asks for compensation for all three and considers their detention and imprisonment to be a violation of fundamental rights, especially freedom of speech.
Among the conclusions, they argue that the imprisonment of Junqueras, Sànchez and Cuixart is arbitrary, and that Spain must adopt the necessary measures to repair the situation without delay. It also requires that they be granted the right to obtain compensation in accordance with international law.
The verdict issued by the UN is not binding, but it will be very important to build the future lawsuit in the Strasbourg Court if Spain disobeys it. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detenctions depends on the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which is part of the Secretariat of the organization and has been entrusted by the General Assembly to uphold human rights in the world.
Their defense in this international cause is led by lawyer Ben Emmerson, specializing in human rights and international criminal law. Throughout his career, he has appeared before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, the International Criminal Court in the Hague and the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Last Sunday the community of Kensington, MD, hosted its annual Festival of the Book that drew thousands of visitors. The Catalan National Assembly in the USA & Friends of Catalonia in the US participated for the 1st time.
Under our yellow canopy -with banners asking for the freedom of our political prisoners- the team of volunteers entertained hundreds of passersby and costumers, telling them about Catalonia, explaining Sant Jordi’s Day -which inspired the Kensington Festival- and conversing about the current political situation in Catalonia.
We sold books on Catalan politics and society in English, translations of Catalan novels and had a free book exchange of books written in the Catalan language. We also gave roses (natural and origami ones) and distributed pamphlets with information on the Catalan language.
It was a sunny day with lots of fun, community building and a great opportunity to bring Catalonia closer to this freedom-loving, cultured community.
We’d like to celebrate Sant Jordi with you, so we’ve created an Instagram account where we want to share your photos of how Catalans celebrate Sant Jordi in different parts of the US.
Are you a Catalan living in the US? Do you live in Catalonia and want to show to people in the US how you celebrate Sant Jordi? Do you want to send a message to Catalans living in the US to wish them a Happy Saint George’s Day? Share your pictures with us at firstname.lastname@example.org along with the message you want to share and your Instagram user (if you have one) so we can tag you. We will pick the best ones and publish them in our Instagram account from April 23rd to April 28th, when we will celebrate Sant Jordi at the Kensington Day of the Book Festival. And make sure you follow us on Instagram so you don’t miss any of the photos! @ancusaorg
You don’t know what Sant Jordi is? You can find information on this beautiful Catalan tradition on these sites:
International Trial Watch (ITW), a platform composed of organisations working to defend human rights and liberties, is closely monitoring the Catalan referendum trial. Different international scholars, human rights activists and members of parliament are being invited by ITW to monitor the development of the trial and assess if the rights of the defence parties are upheld.
The website of ITW contains a lot of information on the trials, the profiles of the defendants and the accusers, and a lot more. It offers this information mainly in Spanish and in English, but they also offer their weekly reports in French (semaine 1, semaine 2, semaine 3, semaine 4, semaine 5). We consider this information to be valuable and worth disseminating. This week, you will find on its website its newest assessment of the trial, of the 5th week.
Catalonia is living in a police state, with Catalan police following orders from Spanish prosecutor’s office and the Spanish Electoral Board (with several of its members being also part of the Spanish Supreme Court, which is currently in charge of the trial against Catalan leaders). They are now conducting searches in public schools, during teaching hours, searching for yellow ribbons inside teacher’s drawers and criticizing the amount of yellow color on students’ crafts, covering murals and removing purple loops of support for International Women’s Day.
‘The Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) have this Friday entered various public schools around Catalonia to remove any yellow loops or other political symbols. The force has told El Nacional it’s acting on orders from public prosecutors, after the Central Electoral Board denounced the presence of such symbols on public buildings.’
‘In the case of a school in Badalona, where there were no loops, the officers reportedly criticised the presence of the colour yellow in kids’ crafts displayed in the corridors. They also searched the teachers’ room, classrooms and bathrooms. A rural school in Perafita reports they’ve had to remove even the lilac loops of support for International Women’s Day.’
Composer and pianistMarc Migóis studying for his Master’s Degree in Composition at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. The concert will showcase music by Catalan composers such as Joan Manén, Jordi Cervelló, Isaac Albéniz, Marc Migó, Narcís Bonet, and Salvador Brotons.
An interview with professor Alfred De Zayas, Professor of International Law, writer, historian and a leading expert in the field of human rights and international law. Formerly UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order. Produced in connection with the Conference on the Right of Self-Determination, “The Catalan Question and International Law”, an International Symposium organised by ANC Nederland and held in The Hague, The Netherlands, on November 9th, 2018.