The President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès i Garcia, stated that “being able to make an amnesty a reality for everyone, for all those who have been repressed, without exception, is a win for Catalonia”. He was speaking this afternoon at the La Model Cultural Centre in Barcelona, where he closed the event organised by the Catalan Government called “International Experiences of Amnesties in Conflict Resolution”, in which he spoke about amnesties, their use and possible results, as well as the ways in which they have been agreed in conflict resolution contexts around the world.
The event was opened by the Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret i Aleu, who stressed that “today is a lesson in how to advance in the construction of peace, through amnesty, and to learn from other international cases.” She also pointed out that “it is a conflict that has also been echoed by international organisations that have called for progress and urged the democratic authorities to remove the conflict from the courts.”
President Aragonès stated that “with the Amnesty Act, all those persecuted for their commitment to the country are freer”. Likewise, he highlighted the value of the milestone achieved, with which, as he said, “we have conquered a new impossible”. Aragonès recalled the other the agreements that have been reached so that, as he stressed, “the citizens of Catalonia can live much better”, such as the agreement on the complete transfer of Rodalies or the measures to combat the effects of the fiscal deficit.
However, Aragonès reflected that “amnesty alone does not resolve the political conflict” and added that it is a “tool to move towards a democratic resolution”. Therefore, amnesty having been achieved, the President stated that “we will defend the right of the citizens of Catalonia to freely decide their future. It is time to move towards the referendum,” he remarked.
President Aragonès thanked the speakers at the conference: Dr Lesley-Ann Daniels, IBEI researcher and expert on minority rights and stability in post-conflict environments, and Professor Kieran McEvoy, professor of Transitional Law and Justice and head of the Rights and Justice Research Area at the Senator George J Mitchell Institute, Queen’s University Belfast, for “translating their experience in a didactic and understandable way”.Aragonès recalled that “in Catalonia we are not familiar with the dynamics of political conflict resolution” but, as he remarked, “in recent years we have been training in these words and this language”. The conversation was moderated by Andy Carl, international conflict transformation expert and consultant.