19/12/2017

Statement from the recognized peace organization International Peace Bureau: “Towards a peaceful and nonviolent process of dialogue and understanding in the Catalan conflict”

Towards a peaceful and nonviolent process of dialogue and understanding in the Catalan conflict

The International Peace Bureau (IPB), of which the Centre Delàs de Estudis per la Pau is a member and which operates from its decentralised headquarters in Barcelona, and a recognised international peace organisation, has expressed its position on the current situation in Catalonia ahead of the elections on the 21st of December in a press release.

Similarly, the international peace organisation recognises and expresses its satisfaction with the non-violent social mobilisations that have taken place in recent months in Catalonia.

In its statement, the IPB demands that the Spanish authorities “release all prisoners related to the Catalan conflict and allow them to participate democratically in the upcoming Catalan elections, which will be held on December 21.

Finally, the peace entity urges “the political representatives of the Catalan and Spanish governments, as well as the politicians of different movements, to undertake the necessary democratic processes to understand the will of Catalan society”.

Statement from the International Peace Bureau:

The IPB has a close relationship with Catalonia. Four Catalan entities are members of IPB (Unipau, the Centre Delàs de Estudis per la Pau, Justícia i Pau, Fundipau) and the representatives of these entities are (and have been) in our Board of Directors and in our International Council. We have traditionally maintained close collaboration with Catalan institutions such as the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation (ACCD) and the Barcelona City Council. Furthermore, last year we decided to establish one of the three decentralized IPB offices in the city of Barcelona.

For this and many other reasons, the situation in Catalonia is concerning and generates great interest within the IPB. As a result of the Catalan conflict, the events of recent months have led to a qualitative increase in the degree of tension in Catalonia, which has reached levels of violence that we firmly reject.

The IPB respects the legitimacy of all existing positions and nuances in the Catalan conflict, including those of the Catalan society that wishes to establish Catalonia as an independent state, and those that wish to continue maintaining Catalonia as part of Spain. In any case, what the IPB categorically rejects is the use of violence that has been employed by some of the actors involved.

In this regard, we have verified that the violence that has recently occurred in the Catalan conflict has been carried out mainly at the request of the Spanish government. The repression of citizens, the police brutality suffered by the Catalan population (witnessed by the entire world), the legitimizing discourses that support such violence, as well as the preventive custody of the Catalan government and some of the leaders of the independence movement, are strongly repudiated from a pacifist and non-violent position.

We also highlight an obvious democratic deficit and the lack of political will on the part of the Spanish authorities to deal with the Catalan conflict through dialogue.

Having said this, we would like to express our satisfaction with the many non-violent social mobilisations in Catalonia that have demonstrated the usefulness and need for non-violence as a tool for social transformation.

We express our solidarity with the victims of repression and violence, and our respect for the right for the self-determination of the Catalan people. We demand that the Spanish authorities release all the prisoners related to the Catalan conflict and allow them all to participate democratically in the upcoming Catalan elections, which will be held on December 21.

We urge the political representatives of the Catalan and Spanish governments, as well as politicians from different movements, to undertake the democratic processes necessary to understand the will of Catalan society; in this way political solutions can be reached that will allow peaceful coexistence and freedom in Catalonia in the short and long term.

IPB Council, Barcelona meeting, November 2017

For more information:

premsa@centredelas.org

93.441.19.47 / 693.754.646

Jordi Calvo Rufanges (researcher and coordinator of the Centre Delàs de Estudis per la Pau):

jcalvo@centredelas.org

658.041.818