Spanish Government shuns Fiona Hyslop’s call for democracy to be respected


Responding to the Scottish Government’s statement on Catalonia, a spokesperson for Spain’s ministry of foreign affairs argues self-determination is “limited to the process of decolonization”

A SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SPANISH MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS has rejected “the United Kingdom’s solution for the Scottish issue” and shunned Scottish Government minister Fiona Hyslop’s declaration that “the decision over Catalonia’s future direction is a matter for the people who live there” and her call for democracy and human rights to be respected.

Following the recent statement on the 1 October referendum on Catalonia’s independence made by Hyslop, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs, a spokesperson for Spain’s ministry of foreign affairs told Buzzfeed News: “Spain cannot apply the United Kingdom’s solution for the Scottish issue: our historical origins and our legal-political systems are different.

“Spain has a written constitution, submitted to the vote of all Spaniards in 1978 and approved by 87.7 per cent (and 91.4 per cent of the Catalonian voters), which makes the rules of the game clear.”

“National unity is the basis of our constitution.” Spokesperson for the Spanish ministry of foreign affairs

“The Spanish constitution enshrines the Spanish nation as a political and social reality prior to the constitution itself. Therefore, national unity is the basis of our constitution. There are established procedures to amend the constitution. Therefore, in our legal framework, a referendum in the form proposed by the United Kingdom to Scotland would only be possible if the constitution were amended.

“The British case is an exception to an overwhelming majority of written constitutions that do not recognise this possibility. Recent judicial decisions in Germany and Italy have underlined the same constitutional approach as Spain. More concretely, according to Germany’s Supreme Court ‘there is no room under the constitution for individual states to attempt to secede’.”

Referring to Hyslop’s argument that “all peoples have the right to self-determination and to choose the form of government best suited to their needs, a principle which is enshrined in the UN Charter”, the spokesperson countered that Hyslop had misinterpreted the relevant resolutions of the United Nations charter, and that they referred only to subjugated colonies rather than stateless nations.

“Concerning the right of self-determination of peoples contained in the UN Charter (art 2) and developed by resolutions 2625 (XXV) and 1514 (XV), it is limited to the process of decolonization. Apart from this context, it can only be argued in cases of peoples annexed by conquest, foreign domination or occupation, and peoples oppressed by massive and flagrant violation of their rights.”

READ MORE: Edinburgh demonstration planned to show solidarity with Catalonia

The statement comes amidst increasing tensions between the Spanish and Catalan governments. Following the Spanish Constitutional Court’s decision to declare the upcoming referendum illegal,  Spanish authorities arrested Catalonia’s junior economy minister Josep Maria Jove in a dawn raid this morning.

According to a spokesperson for the Catalan government, Spain’s Guardia Civil also entered and searched several Catalan government buildings, including the offices of the interior, foreign affairs, economy, welfare, tax and telecommunications.

According to Al Jazeera’s Karl Penhaul, reporting from Catalonia, Spanish authorities are searching for “evidence of support by the regional government for the October 1 independence referendum.”

Spain’s public prosecutor has ordered a criminal probe of over 700 pro-independence Catalan mayors for participating in the referendum, threatening them with arrest.

Spanish authorities have also seized campaign materials for the referendum, while the Spanish Government took control of Catalonia’s public finances in order to prevent any financial resources being committed to the outlawed vote.

Given the long-standing solidarity and communication between the Catalan and Scottish independence movements, statements from pro-independence Scottish political figures have been steadily forthcoming since the Spanish crackdown began.

“I would like to pledge my support in this chamber – and I’d hope many of my colleagues would do – to the Catalan people, for their right to self-determination in a free from interference referendum.” SNP MSP Christina McKelvie

Speaking in the Scottish parliament during the debate on Equality, Dignity and Human Rights for all, SNP MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse Christina McKelvie expressed her support for the Catalan people.

McKelvie said: “We also, Presiding Officer, have the right to self-determination, and I would like to pledge my support in this chamber – and I’d hope many of my colleagues would do – to the Catalan people, for their right to self-determination in a free from interference referendum.”

Writing on Twitter, Green MSP for the West of Scotland Ross Greer commented: “Arresting government ministers and civil servants is not acceptable in a European democracy. Madrid must step back from this madness.”

Picture courtesy of Mor

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