UNPO Welcomes New Member: Meet Catalonia!
The XV General Assembly of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization saw the UNPO welcome five new members. The first new member to be welcomed was the Catalan National Assembly (Assemblea Nacional Catalana, ANC), representing the Catalan people.
The ANC was represented at the UNPO General Assembly by its President Elisenda Paluzie, who outlined the main issues facing the ANC in its struggle for Catalan self-determination. According to Elisenda, the ANC has brought together over 100,000 people of all political parties to support Catalan independence. Indeed, the ANC came to prominence when over a million people attended a rally in Barcelona in support of their cause, forming a massive human, such as was seen in the Baltic States in 1991. After the having their 2017 independence referendum rejected by the Spanish authorities, Spain arrested the leadership of the independence movement and imprisoned them with lengthy jail sentences.
The ANC itself is largely decentralised, with over 500 local branches, as well as 40 foreign assemblies around the world who advocate for the ANC and work to explain the human rights violations committed by the Spanish authorities against them. As such, UNPO membership is important for the ANC as they can now work in international forums such as the UN and EU and advocate at these institutions to denounce Spanish HR violations, in particular the arbitrary detention and imprisonment of their leaders.
By gaining international recognition for their struggle and the human rights violations committed against them, the ANC hopes to prepare the way for international recognition of Catalan statehood following their next independence referendum. First though, the ANC is working to gain as much support as possible for the upcoming elections to the Catalan parliament, for which they will need more than 50% in order to obtain support for a new declaration of independence. As Spain is unwilling to negotiate, the declaration will need to be protected by non-violent to maintain its legitimacy.
The UNPO strongly supports the right to self-determination of the Catalan people and welcomes the Catalan National Assembly's membership.