Catalonia: PACE Vice-President deplores violence

Commenting further on violence in Catalonia over the weekend, Sir Roger Gale, the most Senior Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), said:

“From reports it has become clear that considerable and in some cases excessive violence was used during attempts to control or prevent the consultation, whether legal or not, called by the Catalonian authorities, and that scores of people were injured as a result.

It is not the place of PACE to comment upon or interfere in the internal affairs of any sovereign state and I do not seek to do so. It is, however, the clear duty of PACE to seek to ensure adherence to the European Convention on Human Rights on the part of its Member States.

The rights of freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly lie at the core of our democracies. They must be adhered to, guaranteed and exercised in line with the Convention. Violence cannot be justified: where it has occurred, it must be properly and thoroughly investigated and its perpetrators, whether on the part of the authorities or the demonstrators, brought to justice.

Once again I call on all sides to restore calm, order and peaceful adherence to the law, and to re-establish the dialogue that is the only way that, in a democracy, progress can be made and a resolution reached.”