A few days ago, on May the 8th the deumil.cat platform with the support of more than 100 associations organised a demonstration following last year’s demonstration in Brusseld. This time 2500 Catalans gathered in front of the UN headquaters in Geneva, handed a letter (read the letter in French and Catalan) to the president of the Human Rights Council of the UN and amongst other activities read the following manifesto:
Manifesto of May the 8th, 2010
In the period between the Middle Ages and the XVIIIth Century, our nation, the Catalan Countries, had its own independent political status. As Pau Casals was to recall at the United Nations in 1971, Catalonia –the birthplace of Democracy in Europe– founded the first Parliament in Europe, even before England did. At the beginning of the Modern Era, the Catalan nation came to form part of a confederation alongside Castile and, despite the imperialist inclinations of Hispanic monarchs, managed to maintain its statehood until the early XVIIIth Century. When -by the force of arms and with the aid of the French- Philip V conquered Valencia in 1707, the Principality of Catalonia in 1714 and Majorca in 1715, he abolished our national institutions of Government and Parliament and did his utmost to wipe out our language and personality in an attempt to assimilate and convert us into Spaniards.
Since then the Catalan nation has been through periods of tribulation, war, dictatorship and repression. The constitution drawn up in 1978 under the close scrutiny of the factic powers, did not allow us to recover our national status. Some saw a mirage here and thought it was possible for a bilateral relationship with Spain to come into play by way of the creation -in the mid-term- of a confederation of nations, as had existed up until the XVIIIth Century. Those were clearly false impressions that thirty years of experience have wiped away. It has never been more obvious to so many people that our rights will never be respected in Spain.
Today, Catalan men and women from all parts of Catalonia and Europe, have gathered here before the headquarters of the United Nations’ Council for Human Rights. They have done so to give their symbolic support to the call officially made last Wednesday in favour of our inalienable right to Self-Determination. In the last few months, and without the aid of the major administrative bodies, nor, indeed, with any form of official backing, almost half a million Catalans have already expressed their will for Catalonia to become an independant sovereign state within the European Union. And many more are due to vote shortly. We should also like to be acknowledged as a full member of the United Nations’ Organisation.
The situation today is that more and more Catalans are fed up with having to live in a State that fails to respect our rights. In the case of the Principality of Catalonia, the debate is now on as to whether sovereignty over affairs that directly affect us will depend on Catalans or if it will depend on citizens of the current Spanish State who have nothing to do with the issues involved.
The position of the Spanish State, expressed by way of the Constitutional Court, is that it has decreed itself legitimate to judge over all that affects Catalonia. This development has made the threat quite clear. Within the Spanish State, Catalonia can now only aspire to having the status of a region without any real political power. Never before has the message been so clearly written on the wall.
Whether convinced of old or disappointed by the recent turn of events, none of us present here today believe any longer in any Statute of Autonomy nor that any form of agreement is possible with the Spanish State. Now what we aspire to is having a Constitution of our own. We therefore hope that without further ado, the Spanish courts will deem us to be nothing more than a region deprived of the right to any form of bilateral treatment. This step will put an end to the pathetic pantomime that has been staged over so long a period. It will also show up that anyone still defending that it is still possible to accomodate the Catalan nation in the cage of Spain, is essentially lying. Today only simple minds can believe that our nation could exert its historical rights within the Spanish State.
From this place, before the headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, we want to show the world that there exists a conflict in Catalonia. A conflict that is altogether pacific. Catalans have the right to Self-Determination and we want to exercise that right. We want the possibility to decide our collective future. We want to vote.
We do not want a Government that fails to commit itself to the independence of our nation. We want our parliamentary representatives to be true defenders of our nation, that is, men and women who are committed to the cause of achieving a Catalan State.
We do not want candidates at the next elections failing to clarify whether they will make a declaration of independence once they have reached the Government, thus enabling us to become a new state in the European Union with the same rights and duties as the rest of current states.
We hereby take a threefold resolution: to work together for that declaration of independence, to strive for a referendum to be held under the auspices of the United Nations and to contribute to the construction of our State.
With hope, with energy and courage, we want to call out, loud and strong:
We are a nation, we want to exercise our right to Self-Determination, we want to vote on this!
We want a State of our own! Long live Catalonia!