Òmnium Cultural presents “Democracy on Trial”, the international campaign to denounce the trial against Catalan leaders


Òmnium’s VP Marcel Mauri: “We want to get European society involved in the defence of fundamental rights”

Òmnium Cultural presented on Friday the international campaign to denounce the trial against Catalan leaders: Democracy on Trial. The aim is to get the whole of European society involved in the defence of fundamental rights and raise awareness of the fact that human rights are being violated in XXIst century Spain. Work is being carried out since several weeks ago in three main spheres: legal area, Communication, and international relations in cooperation with organisations in favour of human rights and culture. “We have to lay the groundwork because the judicial dispute is also being waged in Europe”, said the vice-president of Òmnium Cultural, Marcel Mauri, in reference to the trial against Catalan political prisoners. Mauri added that “we want to get European society involved and explain our work and our struggle for fundamental rights. If the trial results in a conviction, the rights that are enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union will be called into question”.

This presentation coincides with the first campaign video being made public. The video, Europe Needs You More Than Ever, is a mini-documentary that is produced by Òmnium and is meant to denounce the violations of human rights in Spain with regards to the trial of Catalan social and political leaders. This audiovisual piece reminds viewers of the police brutality that took place during the October 1, 2017 self-determination referendum, it explains the ongoing judicial proceedings against the referendum and uses facts to break down the accusation of rebellion, while explaining the case of Jordi Cuixart, the president of Òmnium. The video calls for European dialogue and mediation in order to reach a political and democratic solution for Catalonia. It also encourages social media audiences to contact their political representatives and explain to them what is happening in Spain. The mini-documentary is narrated and presented by Tony Harper, a professional British actor that lives and works in Catalonia. Harper has previously collaborated with the BBC, The Guardian, CMT Canada, and BTV. It can be seen in the following link:

A campaign for reaching a potential audience of 20 million people

Democracy on Trial also seeks to have a great digital communication impact, since it will reach a potential audience of 20 million European citizens that are interested in human rights, social cohesion, and culture. Starting today, and until the day of the sentencing, they will be receiving information on what is taking place in Catalonia and will be asked for their active involvement. After an exhaustive study of the issues of interest within each European country, it was determined that the potential audiences will be the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden. The campaign will also be multilingual and will be done in English, French, and German.

The international relations work is aimed at raising awareness throughout Europe of the ongoing trial and the Catalan conflict. Working under the premise that this is not an internal matter that only affects Spain, the lawyer and international spokesperson for Jordi Cuixart, Olivier Peter, has claimed that “we are working for all of Europe to know that arbitrary arrests are taking place in Spain. Europe cannot turn its back to this, the most fundamental rights are being violated”. Over the last several months a series of conferences have already been held in certain European capitals, such as Copenhagen in December – coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – , and Paris, also in December, which involved a roundtable organized by Òmnium and la Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, where former French minister Benoît Hamon asked for the “immediate release” of Catalan political prisoners. Furthermore, work is being carried out in cooperation with international organizations such as the Council of Europe and the United Nations to denounce the violation of the fundamental rights of the president of Òmnium, Jordi Cuixart, along with those of the rest of political prisoners and exiles, before the UN Human Rights Council and Committee. “Europe must understand that defending these human rights in Spain means defending Europe, since modern Europe is based on the Human Rights Charter”, Peter has remarked.

As a result of all the work that has been carried out, some of the main human rights organizations in the world, such as Amnesty International, Front Line Defenders, and the World Organization Against Torture, among others, have positioned themselves by condemning the repression and violence that the Catalan political prisoners endure and asking for their immediate release.