27 December 2011

Basque Info 14th-26th December

In this issue:
• Important declaration from the Gernika Agreement signatories regarding victims of all violence

• No positive responses from Spain and France to ETA’s move says International Contact Group

• In Brief: Navarre declares against prisoners dispersal policy; Otegi speaks from prison; Spanish Parliament denies own Parliamentary Group to Amaiur; Extraditions.

Important declaration from Gernika Agreement signatories regarding victims of all violence

The signatories of the Gernika Agreement for conflict resolution, the Abertzale Left among them, launched a new document to state their position in relation to the issue of conflict victims.

They consider the recognition of all victims of all violence to be an important step in advancing towards overcoming the conflict. They reaffirm “the necessity of recognition, reconciliation and reparation of all victims that the political conflict has given rise to and the reality of multilateral violences”.

The suffering caused by the conflict has been great and in the text they mention it and make clear that “the pain and suffering of each part of the conflict can’t be, and shouldn’t be, measured.”

They show their sorrow to those who have suffered some type of violence, be it that from ETA or from the Spanish or French states. They recognize the pain and suffering that violence has caused among people.

To advance to building a fair and lasting peace, it is necessary to recognize all of the pain suffered, they believe and that it is important for “the truth to be known, each and every truth that forms a part of it.”

The subject of victims being so delicate, they understand that it has to be treated with care and respect without it being used as a weapon in the political debate. They champion adopting measures, individually as well as collectively, towards repairing the damage caused and restoring the violated rights of the victims.

They affirm that their objective is “a society in which everyone can exercise their rights and see them respected” for which there must be an advance on the path to reconciliation and mutual respect.

Finally they declare that the best guarantee that situations of violence and violations of human rights never occur is the definitive overcoming of the political conflict. For that it would be important to open a process of dialogue among the whole of Basque political forces to deal with the final closure of the causes of the conflict.

No positive responses from Spain and France to ETA’s move says International Contact Group

The International Contact Group (IGC) announced a new initiative with the objective of putting in place the mechanisms for moving forward the recommendations covered in the Declaration of Aiete.

The members of the IGC met a few days ago in London. The objective of the meeting was to continue the work for whic they cam into being: that of promoting, facilitating and speeding up the resolution of the conflict in the Basque Country.

In the meeting they evaluated events relating to the resolution process that have occurred since the Aiete Conference. In the press release sent out after the meeting they stated that “neither the Spanish Government nor the French Government have responded positively to the declaration by ETA.”

In spite of that the IGC has decided to continue with their work and “collaborate with international leaders to establish steps towards the formation of a committee to follow the recommendations that are contained in the declaration.”

The IGC affirms that it will continue observing the evolution of the situation and they are disposed to support and promote ways to foment confidence in public opinion, including dialogue with civil society and with all political parties.

In brief:

Navarre’s parliament declares against dispersal policy:
For the first time ever the parliament of Navarre (one of the two autonomous communities comprising the southern Basque Country) passed a motion against the dispersal policy implemented on Basque political prisoners. As a consequence of such policy the 686 Basque political prisoners are scattered in 85 jails across France and Spain. The motion was passed with the support of the Socialist Party (soc. dem.) which had been in government in Madrid until losing the Spanish general elections two months ago.

Arnaldo Otegi speaks from prison: One of the main Spanish radio stations interviewed, through a written questionnaire, imprisoned Basque pro-independence leader Arnaldo Otegi. In the interview Otegi told Spanish public opinion that it should now face up the solution of the consequences of the conflict.

Spanish parliament denies a group of its own to Amaiur: The right-wing PP used their absolute majority to leave Basque pro-independence Amaiur without their own group in Parliament. As a consequence Amaiur will be permitted less time for speeches and funds and won’t be able to take part in meetings on state security matters. Amaiur, for their part, denounced the political motivation of this decision and announced an appeal.

Basque political refugee Ventura Tomé was extradited from Belgium last week. Meanwhile hearings were held on the cases of Basque refugees Fermin Vila (Belfast), Eneko Gogeskoetxea (London) and Xabier Agirre (Brussels).

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