Franco-Review: Spain: Search for dictatorship victims now “state duty”
Spain: Search for dictatorship victims now “state duty”
Well over 100,000 people fell victim to the dictatorship under Franco in Spain. The left-wing government in Madrid is now anchoring the processing in a law.
Spain made the search for the tens of thousands of anonymously buried victims of the civil war (1936-1939) and the dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1939-1975) a “state duty”. That is what the controversial “law of democratic commemoration” prescribes, which was finally approved by the Senate in Madrid, as the left-wing government announced late Wednesday evening.
The work, also known as the “Law of the Grandchildren”, also regulates the right to investigate human rights violations during the war and the dictatorship as well as in the first democracy-Years until 1983. Among other things, the law provides for fines of up to 150,000 euros for glorifying the dictatorship and other violations. The new resolutions go much further than those of 2007, which regulated the handling of monuments of the dictatorship and recognized some rights of the victims for the first time. “We socialists have always worked to strengthen our democracy and today we are taking another step towards justice, reparation and dignity for all victims,” Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez wrote on Twitter.
Spain has still not finished coming to terms with its traumatic past. The conservative, liberal and right-wing populist opposition always voted against the new law, which they believe “opens old wounds again”. Conservative media also accuse the government of “revanchism.”
Left-wing parties, including the junior partner in the governing coalition, Unidas Podemos (UP), had called for going much further and repealing the 1977 amnesty law, which the new law conflicts with. Nonetheless, they supported the new law. It will soon come into force when it is published in the Official Journal.
The number of people who have disappeared from the civil war and the dictatorship is estimated by experts and relatives’ associations to be at least 100,000 to 150,000. Some claim the number may be much higher. It was not until the mid-1990s that citizens’ groups began their own search for victims of the dictatorship. A few years ago, some municipalities and provinces began to support these activities financially. Since the year 2000, around 800 mass graves with around 10,000 victims have been discovered and opened.
Tweet from Pedro Sanchez