UN experts call on Spain to protect historical memory from PP and Vox

by Lorraine Williamson
PP and VOX

UN experts have urged the Spanish government to take the “necessary measures” regarding the “laws of conformity” promoted by the PP and Vox in the autonomous regions of Aragon, Castilla-Leon and Valencia. These laws can “make invisible” the “serious human rights violations” committed during the dictatorial Franco regime.

This is reported by three experts from the United Nations in a report. They are independent experts who prepare reports for the UN. The rapporteurs’ reports therefore do not reflect the position of the United Nations.

Contrary to values Democratic Remembrance Law

In the report, the experts respond to the complaint filed by the government against the so-called “laws of correspondence” that have been processed in three of the areas where PP and Vox govern in coalition. Last April, Spain’s central government referred the matter to the UN, considering that these regulations “contradict” the values enshrined in the Law on Democratic Remembrance, which was passed during the previous legislature.

According to the experts, all administrators – the executive, legislative and judicial branches – and all national, regional and local entities must “comply with the obligation to protect human rights”. They also argue that Spain is responsible for the failure to comply with these obligations.

After analysing the situation in the said autonomous communities, the three rapporteurs urged Pedro Sánchez’s government to take “all necessary measures”. In order to ensure “strict adherence to international human rights standards with regard to the preservation of the historical memory of “serious human rights violations”.

Access to historical memory remains important

They explain that these laws “order the repression of various entities, projects, websites and activities of historical memory” and “may limit access to the truth” about the fate or whereabouts of “victims of serious human rights violations”. But also that they can “make invisible the serious human rights violations committed during Franco’s dictatorial regime, or fail to name or condemn that regime.”

They want to avoid a lack of recognition for “the hundreds of thousands” of people killed by extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances committed during Francisco Franco’s regime.

Cogesa Expats

The document concludes with a request to the relevant public authorities and entities for information on how the regional laws of Aragon, Castilla y León and the Valencian Community are compatible with the obligations of the Spanish State in terms of human rights and the preservation of the historical memory of serious human rights violations. As well as the right to the truth.

Spanish government considers the report to be “powerful”

The government chaired by Pedro Sánchez has expressed its satisfaction with the UN report, which it describes as “powerful”. This was stated by the Minister of Territorial Policy and Democratic Remembrance, Ángel Víctor Torres, who highlighted the speed with which the United Nations followed up on the request of the executive. The Spanish Minister of Justice, Félix Bolaños, also welcomed the UN’s support for the fact that “the laws of whitewashing the dictatorship” promoted by PP and Vox in Aragon, Castilla y León and the Valencian Community are “unworthy in a democracy like Spain”.

Response Partido Popular and Vox

Meanwhile, the leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has stressed that it is “best to read the texts and not consider laws that have not yet been adopted as approved”. “And to say very clearly that for the PP, the 40 years of Franco have been a dictatorship and ETA a terrorist group. This is what the laws are meant for and it is our commitment to historical memory,” the PP leader said.

The president of Aragon, Jorge Azcón (PP), criticised the UN report for its “gross errors” and “deceit”. The president of Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco (PP), shared Azcón’s complaint that the rapporteurs did not ask the regional administrators for their opinion. More critical was his vice-president Juan García-Gallardo of Vox, who asked: “Who are these people? José María Llanos of Vox, urged the UN to “dedicate themselves to their own work”, which is to “save lives and prevent conflicts in the world”.

The Association for the Restoration of Historical Memory (ARMH) has welcomed the news, stressing that the report “reminds the Spanish government that the victims of enforced disappearances under Franco’s regime have no right to justice, nor have they been properly compensated”.

Also read: Spain starts documenting forced labour during Franco´s regime

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