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Friday, 27 April 2018

Arcadi Oliveres receives the ICIP Peace in Progress Award in a moving ceremony in Parliament

The award acknowledges his commitment and tireless dedication to the promotion of peace, social justice and human rights.

Premi ICIP 2017
Premi ICIP 2017

The International Catalan Institute for Peace (ICIP) presented the 2017 Peace in Progress Award to the activist Arcadi Oliveres in a ceremony that took place in the auditorium of the Parliament of Catalonia on Tuesday 17 April.  The event was marked by the remembrance of the imprisoned and exiled politicians and the curtailment of rights and freedoms we are experiencing in Catalonia.  Arcadi Oliveres has been honored for his commitment and tireless dedication to the promotion of peace, social justice, human rights and disarmament, from a universal perspective.

The ceremony, attended by three hundred people, was presided over by the vice president of the Parliament, Josep Costa, and ICIP president Xavier Masllorens, who expressed “consternation at the deterioration of democracy and concern about each person who accepts a curtailment of rights and freedoms in the name of security.”  Masllorens acknowledged Arcadi Oliveres’ lifetime achievements and stressed his “courageous, compelling and forceful response to the injustice of an economic and power system that needs containment and regulation.”

During the ceremony a video highlighting the award recipient’s career was screened and afterwards Arcadi Oliveres accepted the award amid a standing ovation from the audience.  In his acceptance speech, Oliveres recalled the ex-president of Parliament, Carme Forcadell, and the conseller (minister) Raül Romeva, absent from the event due to their imprisonment, and described as unacceptable the “unjustified repression of the process of a people that want to achieve their political fulfillment.”  And he has called for the fight to continue: “We must recognize that despite our desires of peace, these are not peaceful times (…).  We cannot, however, become discouraged; we must move forward and continue committed to what we all aim for, the progress of human dignity.”

Journalist David Fernàndez, who paid tribute to Arcadi Oliveres in a very moving speech, concurred that we must not be disheartened: “We demand peacebuilding precisely in its absence, which is when it is most necessary to do so.”  Fernàndez, who is also an activist and a former student of Arcadi Oliveres’, described him as “tireless, indefatigable and inexhaustible; disobedient, peaceful and nonviolent” and added: “Arcadi has never accepted everything they said could not be changed; instead, he has gone about changing everything that could not be accepted.”  Fernàndez also highlighted the humanist ethics espoused by Arcadi, who reminds us that another world is possible: “Arcadi is value without price and peace without war or injustice (…), both generosity and goodness.”

At the closing of the ceremony, the vice president of Parliament, Josep Costa, congratulated Arcadi Oliveres and stressed that “Catalonia’s commitment to peace is an intrinsic part of our history, a fundamental value of our society.”  Costa also referred to the current political situation in Catalonia: “It is unacceptable to claim that legitimate social mobilizations are violent.  Catalonia has always opted for the path of democracy and dialogue,” he said.