Pardons
Politics 02/07/2021

UN Secretary General also supports Sánchez on pardons

"The creation of conditions so that dialogue can bear fruit is always very important," says António Guterres from Madrid

2 min
The secretary general of the UN, the Portuguese António Guterres, and the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, at the gates of the Moncloa.

MadridNew show of support for Pedro Sánchez in his bid to resolve the conflict in Catalonia, and this time it was international. The secretary general of the UN, António Guterres, gave his blessing to the pardons this Friday in an indirect way during an appearance next to the Spanish president in Madrid. Asked about the measure of grace, the Portuguese leader said first of all that it is not appropriate for a UN secretary general to comment on "internal political issues".

But then, accompanied by a broad smile of approval from Sánchez, he pointed out that to his mind there is "an essential global principle: the principle that all problems must be solved politically and that dialogue is an essential instrument for solving the problems of our times". "The creation of conditions for dialogue to bear fruit is always very important for our societies," he concluded, thus accepting the decision to pardon political prisoners in order to make progress in the negotiations between the Spanish government and the Generalitat.

Guterres's words come a few hours after the president of Òmnium participated in the 47º UN Council of Human Rights, headquartered in Geneva. This year the event was celebrated telematically. Cuixart criticised the "antidemocratic" Spanish state and urged the United Nations to "act so that Spain respects international treaties" and initiates an amnesty process.

Since 2017 the pro-independence movement has resorted to the UN continuously for the release of prisoners. In fact, in the spring of 2019, a working group already ruled that there was no violence on 20-S or 1-O and that the Supreme Court was not competent to judge the pro-independence leaders and that, therefore, they had to be released.

Then it was the first international pronouncement against pre-trial detention, which in the autumn of that same year became final due to the sentence against the independence bid. Specifically, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a resolution in which it urged the Spanish state to release Jordis "immediately" and former vice-president Oriol Junqueras, as well as demanding that they be granted compensation for the almost two years in pre-trial detention.

No response on the right to self-determination

Guterres has not responded on whether the UN endorses the right to self-determination, as claimed by the pro-independence movement. He has not spoken about this point in particular, but Sánchez has done it again, denying the possibility of an independence referendum for the third day in a row. He has not done so, however, on the possibility of holding a consultative referendum in accordance with Article 92 of the Constitution. The Spanish government defends reaching an agreement with Catalonia and the question right now, according on the statements made by the members of the Spanish government, is whether it ought to be voted on only by the Catalans or by all the Spaniards.

The Spanish president has once again demanded that the Generalitat speak "with the part that does not share the pro-independence agenda", which for the consider into the PP, Vox and Ciutadans being part of this negotiating forum that they constantly mention and that the Generalitat has not yet invoked. The ERC spokesman in the Spanish parliament, Gabriel Rufian, responded on Wednesday to Sanchez that this space already exists and is the Catalan Parliament . The Spanish president replied that, in the same way, a dialogue table would not be needed and everything could be resolved in the Spanish Parliament.

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