25th April: rights conquered, duties nonfulfilled

On the 46th anniversary of the April Revolution, MPPM salutes the liberation movement, led by the military with broad popular support, which returned to the Portuguese their freedom and their fundamental rights, opened the way to reconciliation with the peoples subjected to the colonial yoke and allowed the return of Portugal to the fellowship of nations after 48 years of almost total international isolation of the fascist, obscurantist and colonialist regime.

The Constitution of the Republic, promulgated in April 1976, reflected the deep aspirations of the Portuguese people, repressed during the dictatorship: the values of freedom, democracy, social justice, national independence, peace, solidarity. It enshrined the rights acquired by the Portuguese and also the commitments entered into, namely in international relations. And if, regarding individual and collective rights, despite the upheavals, notwithstanding advances and setbacks, there has been undeniable progress, in what concerns international solidarity, Portugal is slow to repay the debt of gratitude for the support received for its liberating struggle.

By the will of the men and women who made the April Revolution, translated by the authors of the 1976 Constitution, Portugal committed itself to respecting “the rights of man, the rights of peoples”. However, either directly or in the context of the European Union, Portugal maintains privileged relations with Israel, a country denounced for systematic violations of the human rights of the Palestinians, both those who inhabit the territories occupied in 1967 and those who are citizens of Israel, and which is now being subjected to an investigation by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes. Now that the formation of a government in Israel is announced, whose programme includes the unilateral annexation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, thereby burying once and for all the two-state solution enshrined in the United Nations resolutions, it is more than ever necessary that Portugal adopts, without hesitation, an uncompromising position in defence of the national rights of the Palestinian people, against the Zionist occupation and its plans for ethnic cleansing, thereof drawing all the consequences, namely in terms of relations with Israel.

It was the aspiration of the Portuguese people, which is still enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic, that Portugal should advocate “general, simultaneous and controlled disarmament, the dissolution of political-military blocs, the establishment of a system of collective security”. And yet Portugal continues to follow the NATO diktats, engaging in military and subversion actions by foreign countries that grossly violate principles inscribed in the fundamental law: “Portugal is governed in international relations by the principles […] of peaceful settlement of international conflicts, of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states”. The delay in signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons also brings Portugal closer to the countries that perpetrate war than to peace-loving ones.

Other important values enshrined in the Constitution are “the abolition of imperialism, colonialism and all forms of aggression, domination and exploitation in relations between peoples” and also the recognition of the “right of peoples to self-determination and independence and to development, as well as the right to insurrection against all forms of oppression”. The Assembly of the Republic [Parliament] has condemned, on numerous occasions and in the strongest terms, Israel's colonial policy and its constant aggressions against the Palestinian people and neighbouring peoples, and recommended the recognition of the State of Palestine by the Portuguese Government. It is imperative, therefore, for the Government to assume its responsibility and fully recognize, in the name of the values and principles of the April Constitution, to which it is bound, the State of Palestine, with its capital in East Jerusalem. Around the world 140 countries have done so, including 19 European countries, of which 9 are members of the European Union.

Since, in a more recent addition to the Constitution, it says that “Portugal is committed […] to strengthening the action of European States in favour of democracy, peace, economic progress and justice in the relations between peoples”, it would be an act worthy of the country of April if Portugal were to lead, in the European Union and in the world, the action for the recognition of the State of Palestine in accordance with international law and the resolutions of the United Nations, as a way of doing justice to the Palestinian people and contributing towards the creation of a just peace in the Middle East.

It is worth remembering the wise words of Nelson Mandela: “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Let us rightly celebrate our freedom. But let us not forget our obligation to the Palestinians and other peoples subjected to the colonial yoke and who have not yet won their freedom.

25 April 2020

The National Directorate of MPPM

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