UN human rights chief calls for investigation on violence in Catalonia

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United Nations human rights chief, Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein, at UN General Assembly

2 October 2017 - The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for an independent investigation into all acts of violence during the referendum organized yesterday by authorities in the autonomous region of Catalonia.

The High Commissioner, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein says he was very disturbed by the violence in Catalonia.

“With hundreds of people reported injured, I urge the Spanish authorities to ensure thorough, independent and impartial investigations into all acts of violence. Police responses must at all times be proportionate and necessary,” the High Commissioner said in a statement.

He called on the government of Spain to accept without delay the requests by relevant UN human rights experts to visit.

“I firmly believe that the current situation should be resolved through political dialogue, with full respect for democratic freedoms.”

Last week two independent UN Human Rights experts had called on Spanish authorities to ensure that measures taken ahead of the Catalan referendum did not interfere with the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, and public participation.

“Regardless of the lawfulness of the referendum, the Spanish authorities have a responsibility to respect those rights that are essential to democratic societies,” the experts said.

 The experts are Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and Mr. Alfred de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.