In a letter published on the Nobel Women’s Initiative web site, the laureates on Monday expressed their support for mediation to solve the conflict in Catalonia, calling for “a peaceful resolution of the current stand-off between the Spanish government and Catalonia.”

The laureates condemned the violence on Oct. 1 in Catalonia and referred to the referendums held in Quebec and Scotland, regions where secession was voted against in 1995 and 2014 respectively, as examples of “mature democracies” and “freedom of expression”.

Among the singatories were Argentinean Adolfo Perez Esquivel, a 1980 Nobel Prize laureate, Guatemalan indigenous activist Rigoberta Menchu, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982, and former President of East Timor, José Ramos-Horta, a 1996 awardee. 

Catalonia’s leader, Carles Puigdemont, will address the region’s Parliament today, possibly to declare independence from Spain.

The Spanish government considers the Catalan law that called for a referendum, and the following declaration of independence, unconstitutional.


In a long-awaited speech, Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont affirmed today the right of Catalonia to be an independent country. But he notably stopped short of declaring the region independent, calling for further dialogue with the Spanish government.

By suspending the secession process, Puigdemont signaled an overture to critics and observers in Spain and across the European Union who feared the rise of separatism in the increasingly embattled 28-state bloc. He said that Catalonia’s conflict with Spain could be resolved in a rational way and suggested exploring international mediation as a possible solution.

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