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Friday, 22 December, 2017

Statement of the CNJC and the CJE on the situation in Catalonia and Spain

We, the Youth Councils of Catalonia and Spain, being the maximum representation of youth organizations in our respective territories, would like to present a joint statement to give an example of dialogue to our leaders. We also want to show that the solution to the existing conflict relies on the respect of human rights and the democratic values, and also on giving political solutions to historical conflicts and not hiding them behind judiciary processes. Today, we must stand for the dialogue between both societies, as it is our wish to become an example of dialogue to our representatives and to the European Institutions.

The EU was born to defend and protect Human Rights, democratic values and dialogue to ensure the peaceful coexistence in Europe.

So that, we, the Catalan and Spanish young citizens, as members of the European Union, we stand for the defence of Human Rights. We call for dialogue and we question the European Union on its duty to protect basic rights and freedoms. The silence of the EU towards the human rights violations in Catalonia can set a precedent for other future political disputes in other European countries. Not responding to the current conflict in Catalonia and Spain is highly dangerous and can cause long-term damage to Spain, Catalonia and all the European Union countries.  

Moreover, Human Rights and democratic values are beyond national sovereignty. We therefore call on all European Youth Councils to do all that is necessary to defend Human Rights and Democracy in Catalonia, but also in Spain and Europe.

Any government, in its efforts to safeguard the indivisibility of the nation, must not violate basic rights and freedoms, as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as by Articles 2 and 6 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Therefore, the European Youth Forum has already condemned the violence that occurred in Catalonia the 1st of October and calls for the respect of fundamental rights and peaceful dialogue among parties. As proven by the Human Rights Watch, “national police and Civil Guard officers used excessive force on October 1 in Catalonia”.

As young citizens, we stand for the right to freedom of assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of speech.

Furthermore, we are highly preoccupied, in terms already expressed by Amnesty International, with the precautionary measures, such as the preventive imprisonment of eight ministers of the elected Catalan government while they are investigated on possible charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds and also of two leaders of the known pro-independence organizations on charges of sedition, derived from their participation in the 20th of September demonstration in Barcelona.  

And in this sense, we are witnessing how support for right-wing movements is increasing throughout Catalonia and Spain and how they are acting with violence and are promoting hate speech without impunity. There is a need of a strong response towards these movements that are moving us apart from the democratic values rooted in the EU foundation.

In addition, we are also worried to see the increase in intolerance and the political polarization into positions, which walk away from democratic values and that, are making the possibilities of peaceful dialogue and democratic discussion more remote. We stand for political diversity, within the Human Rights framework, as the essential asset for healthy and quality democracies.

Here, in this moment is when Civil Society and Institutions need to make a strong cooperation to fight against hate speeches.

We would like to add the decline of the rigor of certain media, their lack of independence and the rise of post-truth journalism, which are all contributing to reinforce hate speech between both societies.

Therefore, we stand for the political resolution of conflicts rather than proceeding with judicial channels as the main mechanism to solve political conflicts.

So, for all what we have exposed above, the Spanish Youth Council and the Catalan National Youth Council, as plural and participatory spaces of youth organizations, we want to clearly state our believe in dialogue as the tool to solve the conflict in our region and to reach a solution in line with the citizens’ wishes.

Furthermore, we call all Youth Forum members to stand for the respect of Human Rights and democratic values throughout Europe.

Finally, we hope this joint statement will become an example of dialogue for our political representatives and therefore, we urge them to work towards a political solution to this political conflict.

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