Criminalization will not help to solve Catalonia crisis

The special responsibility of Schleswig-Holstein with regard to the protection of minorities and nationalities (Press Release)

Catalonia’s uncertain future is a political and social conflict – and there has to be a political solution, instead of prosecution. Photo: Jordi Ventura via Flickr

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) warned that the Catalan politician Carles Puigdemont, who was arrested in Germany, should not be deported to Spain. “Criminalizing Catalan politicians will not help to solve the Catalonia crisis, but would merely fuel the tensions. Germany should not be made the lackey of a Spanish government that isn’t trying to find a political solution to the Catalonia crisis, but relies on locking up unwelcome independence advocates. Catalonia’s uncertain future is a political and social conflict – and there has to be a political solution, instead of prosecution,” said Ulrich Delius, the STP’s director, in Göttingen on Sunday.

“Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy must finally learn the lessons of the regional election of December 23, 2017, in which he lost a lot of votes. He must enter a credible dialogue with those who are striving for independence,” Delius stated. On Friday, the country’s Supreme Court announced that it would prosecute 25 Catalan leaders for separatism and other crimes. Also, another international arrest warrant had been issued against Puigdemont.

“Schleswig-Holstein’s Ministry of the Interior is facing a difficult decision. Simply following Spain’s arrest warrant and treating Puigdemont as a common offender would not be advisable with regard to democracy and human rights in the European Union (EU) – nor would it strengthen the rights of autochtonous minorities and nationalities in the EU. Schleswig-Holstein, a state that is particularly committed to the protection and promotion of nationalities and minorities, should be especially aware of this,” Delius emphasized.

“It is also highly controversial that Puigdemont is officially sought for alleged ‘rebellion’. Especially since his escape to Belgium, the Catalan politician has repeatedly tried to enter a political dialogue with the Spanish government, which, however, rejected or ignored all offers. By stubbornly relying on prosecution, the Spanish government is about to lose its credibility as a guarantor of peace, democracy, and the rule of law in Catalonia,” Delius explained.

Header Photo: Jordi Ventura via Flickr