The General Secretary (GS) of the Celtic League has written in support of moves to form a new political party in the Basque Country to represent the Basque nationalist left.
Over the last ten years successive Spanish Governments have banned and arrested members of various Basque left wing nationalist political parties and organisations, claiming that they were linked to ETA. In 2009 representatives of
Batasuna – a political party banned in 2003 by the Spanish courts – took their case unsuccessfully to the European Court of Human Rights.
Other parties and organisations banned by the Spanish government, include Askatasuna (banned in 2009), Batasuna (banned in 2003), Euskal Herrialdeetako Alderdi Komunista/ Communist Party of the Basque Homelands (banned in 2008), Demokrazia Hiru Milioi (D3M) (banned 2009) and Eusko Abertzale Ekintza/ Basque Nationalist Action (banned in 2008). Successive governments have also banned and arrested the editorial teams of Basque language newspapers, including the Egunkaria newspaper, which was closed down in 2003. The editorial team of Egunkaria claimed they were tortured by police while in custody and were later convicted, but fully acquitted in 2010. Various Basque youth organisations have also been banned, for alleged linked with ETA. In is unknown yet if any newly formed political party representing the Basque nationalist left will also be banned.
Spanish Governments have been strongly criticised by the United Nations, European Union, and numerous NGO’s, including the League for their repressive measures against the Basques. Martin Scheinin, the United Nations Special
Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, accused the Spanish state in 2009 of using too wide an application of its definition of “support for an armed organisation” in its Law of Political
Parties. Currently any grouping that has the same ultimate aims as ETA – left wing, Nationalist and Basque speaking – can be banned, even when their methods of working for those aims are all entirely legal.
In his letter to a representative of the new movement the GS said:
“We wish you every luck in your political journey to self-determination and hope our support and solidarity go some way in helping you achieve your aims.”
The full text of the letter from the GS can be found below, including the name and email address of the political representative to which messages of support can be sent.
I am writing to congratulate you on behalf of the Celtic League for the efforts that are being made by the nationalist left in the Basque Country to form a new political party with the aim of moving the cause of Basque democracy and
independence forward. We also think that it is essential that the nationalists of the left wing are allowed to participate in the next elections in May 2011 if democracy and peace are to stand a chance in the Basque Country.
The Celtic League follows closely what happens politically in the Basque Country and have been against the systematic banning of left wing nationalist political parties and other organisations by the Spanish state. On occasion we have also
written to the Spanish and Basque governments to complain about the poor treatment of prisoners by state institutions and in support of democracy and freedom of speech in general.
We wish you every luck in your political journey to self-determination and hope our support and solidarity go some way in helping you achieve your aims.
This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:
Tel: 0044 (0)1209315884
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information