Amnesty criticises Spain’s lax attitude to stolen babies

by Deborah Cater
Amnesty International criticise Spain over stolen babies
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Spain is not doing enough regarding stolen babies. Amnesty International denounces the Spanish government’s stance on thousands of reports of stolen babies. According to Amnesty, there is a “climate of impunity” in Spain. 

In a report devoted to the theft of babies in Spain since Franco, Amnesty International concludes Spain is not assisting the victims sufficiently. Family members continue to encounter obstacles in their searches, which usually end without success. The Spanish news site RTVE.es writes on Tuesday that Amnesty believes the Spanish government does not provide sufficient resources; and that there is a climate of impunity when it comes to this violation of human rights.

Spain passed bill to prosecute baby theft

Although the Spanish government passed a bill last year to recognise and investigate baby theft since Franco’s reign, the report states victims receive little or no counselling, neither psychologically nor legally. For this reason, Amnesty International is concerned the actions of the Spanish government will not lead to answers for the victims.

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Thousands of kidnapped children in Spain 

Amnesty reviewed many cases in the Spanish regions of Andalucia, Catalonia, Madrid, Valencia and the Basque Country. They concluded that from the Spanish Civil War until the 1990s, thousands of people have been victims of baby theft. The kidnappings first often took place in prisons and then also in hospitals, birth centers, childcare centers and churches.

Many cases closed due to insufficient information

Official figures from the Ministry show that between 2011 and 2021, 2,138 investigations started. One is still ongoing in Barcelona. 526 of these cases are being prosecuted, but the other cases are closed unsolved. Amnesty say there are several indications that many family searches are unsuccessful because the Church or the State refuses to disclose important information.

Amnesty is demanding the Spanish government take an active role in the coordination and search for possible kidnappings. The NGO indicated it wants to negotiate with the Episcopal Conference and Spanish government to release documentation from church archives to facilitate the search for these stolen babies.

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