On Tuesday, April 3rd 2018, Maite Parejo, Head of G37 Despacho Internacional in Madrid, part of The Guernica Group, and Vice-President of the Spanish Association for Human Rights (APDHE), addressed the Commission for Citizen Participation and Human Rights of the Parliament of Aragon to request an institutional endorsement to the Draft Law on Stolen Newborns in the Spanish State, which will shortly be submitted to the Spanish Parliament. Alongside Maite, Soledad Luque, President of the association “Todos los Niños Robados Son También Mis Niños” (All Stolen Children are Also my Children) also intervened so as to explain the activities carried out by her organisation. Both this association and the APDHE are part of CEAQUA, a civil-society-led network that supports the prosecution, by Argentinean courts, of crimes committed during the Spanish dictatorship, using the principle of Universal Jurisdiction. The video of the full session, including the two interventions, is available here.
Maite and Soledad had previously held a meeting with representatives of different political parties and other actors from the Aragonese civil society on 2 April 2017. These meetings were organized following a wider advocacy initiative that seeks to gather support for the effective prosecution of the abduction of newborns from 1940 until after the beginning of the Spanish democracy.
For over fifty years, countless babies were abducted in different prison facilities, medical clinics and maternity homes in Spain. Initially, these crimes pursued a political aim and were backed by the Francoist regime and its institutions. Their objective was to separate the descendants of political prisoners and other people opposed to the regime from their original families, and give them to families that lived according to the official moral and social mindset established by the ruling authorities. Afterwards, these criminal practices expanded for other reasons, targeting mothers due to their religious views or their lack economic resources. Overall, these state criminal practices must be understood within a framework of gender-based repression, which effectively deprived women of their most basic and fundamental rights.
After the end of the Francoist dictatorship, silence fell. From the beginning of the democracy, the Spanish government and the office of the Prosecutor General have recurrently refused to deal with these evident human rights violations, hiding behind the protection of the 1977 Spanish Amnesty Law. By doing this, both the government and the judiciary manifestly ignored the recommendations of several international bodies such as the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, or the Special Mission sent by the European Parliament.
Maite and Soledad highlighted the international obligations that Spanish authorities have blatantly disregarded with their inaction. They also noted the different recommendations submitted by the aforementioned international bodies, particularly pointing out the obligation to secure and guarantee victims’ rights.
Maite also mentioned different regional legislative initiatives that were passed in Andalusia, Valencia and Navarra to deal with this situation –which, unfortunately, have proved insufficient. She also called on the role that local and regional bodies have, in exerting pressure on the national government and parliament to abide by their international commitments and pass legislation protecting victims’ rights to truth, effective judicial protection, suitable remedies and systems of non-recurrence.
Maite concluded her statement enunciating the different mechanisms that the draft law includes in order to appropriately tackle the existing human rights breaches derived from the abductions that still need to be repaired.
Finally, after a round of interventions from the different political groups and a final statement given by Maite Parejo and Soledad Luque, parliamentary representatives expressed support for the legal initiative. The Parliament will decide whether to issue an institutional statement of support to the Draft Law on Stolen Newborns in the Spanish Statein a subsequent session, according to the parliamentary calendar.
The press release of the Regional Parliament of Aragón is available at the following link:
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