The International Solidarity Conference organised by the Basque pro-Amnesty movement agrees on the following:
Through their own dynamics, Political prisoners adjust their nature, which is determined by the changing forms of repression they suffer for years at the hands of their enemy.
Before going into resolutions it is important to analyse the context because the current social and political situation is linked to "globalisation" like never before. Through it, the violent offensive deployed by political and economic forces completely conditions the nature, situation and future of political prisoners round the world.
A militant´s decision to fight has its origin in the violence suffered by himself or herself, their environment and their people. The confrontation is not caused by a few fighters; rather, it arises from the unbalance generated by a violent force.
The ultimate intention of the Nation-State towards the people is its assimilation and in some cases physical disappearance. The agreement of its citizens is essential for this aim. In this 21st century, the meaning and the us of war are in keeping with "globalisation". Therefore, "single thought" is fundamental in order to alienate people in the attempt to globalise-assimilate them. When assimilation is not thus achieved, it is done through imposition and violence.
Upon granting or refusing legitimacy to the struggle, nation-states act as gendarmes. The attacks of 9/11 in New York and 11th March in Madrid were critical points. From then on, the previously existing strategy in the name of the war on terrorism became more violent than ever before, due to the repressive efforts of nation-states.
There is a political choice and a political decision at the origin of the situation and nature of political prisoners, refugees and other people suffering reprisals for political reasons. The mechanisms for political assimilation fail and the system´s punitive reply is activated.
It is necessary to hear direct witness accounts by political prisoners and refugees, because the reasons for conflicts can be clearly understood from the lessons they learnt trough their life experiences. At the end of the day, they are the main narrators of the chronicle of repression.
Conflicts are not symptoms of pathology in a certain society or social group. On the contrary, the system´s repression mechanisms deny the oppressed, whether by force or more subtly, the chance to decide freely. Specifically, they violate rights which are diverse in nature and origin by graduating the system´s violence, even trivialising it at times.
Use of the right to resist is a legitimate reaction by the oppressed, even when the reaction takes on a violent form. Defence violence cannot be analysed from the legal, limited point of view of the nation-state. Consequently, violence used for liberation is not a breach of human rights. The injustices that remain at the nuclei of conflicts are the cause for ongoing suffering and the system is the only one feeding the cycle of suffering.
All rights, including the right to life, will be guaranteed by those who struggle for freedom. The defence of the right to life and all other human rights, if it is to be truly democratic, will have to take individual and collective needs into account.
Therefore, we declare the following:
The nature of political prisoners is closely linked to the conflict and the struggle process they come from. Their existence is a consequence of their having taken part in struggle processes and of having suffered reprisals by the systems they fights against. Their political nature is clearly undeniable.
Jail is a space for struggle. Within jail political prisoners get organised as a community and take on an identity of their own. The creation of a community is essential for the survival of political prisoners. It is also a tool for participation in the political and social processes they stem from, in other words, it is the vehicle for their political action.
The participation of political prisoners in social and political changes, in the struggle processes an in conflict resolution processes is essential. This participation is a guarantee for the success of these processes.
Insofar as political prisoners stem from conflicts generated by nation-states, the latter do not recognise their existence. They do everything they can to deny that reality. "Antiterrorist" legislation and penitentiary policy are tools designed with that end in mind.
While the states deny the political nature of prisoners, the specific treatment they apply against them only underlines that political nature and origin. Nevertheless, the objective of penitentiary policies is to erase political prisoners as a political reference.
The nation-states allied with imperialism violently deny political prisoners´ nature and their right to take part in the political process in the name of the "war on terrorism" while they attempt to present themselves as passionate defenders of human rights.
Nation states treat political prisoners as hostages while the conflict remains within violent parameters. Their aim is to make the prisoners and their environment suffer an thanks to this, to condition and –as far as possible- to neutralise the struggle of the people.
The release of political prisoners and the return home of exiles can contribute to shift a conflict away from violent parameters and towards a scenario free of violent expressions if the roots of the conflict are addressed and set on the path towards resolution. Overcoming the problems that originated the conflict would open up the possibility of applying a Total Amnesty, so that all the citizens who suffered reprisals as a consequence of the conflict would not have to suffer similar situations again.
Solidarity towards political prisoners must not renounce their political origin. Solidarity must be structured within political parameters. Whilst this does not entail forgoing humanitarian solidarity, political action must prevail at the centre of solidarity.
All the attendants at this Conference take on a commitment to publicise this declaration in or countries. We also undertake a commitment to continue this line of work and we support the dynamic we have begun at the Conference.
In the Basque Country, 23 May, 2004