Ending the silence: Europe calls on Spain to investigate horrors of Franco

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Spain's Valley of the Fallen memorial

A RESOLUTION has been passed by the European Parliament calling on Spain to investigate the crimes of Franco, who killed and ‘disappeared’ thousands of civilians and political opponents during his rule. 

On Tuesday MEPS voted in Strasbourg to demand that all member states ensure ‘truth, justice and reparations’ for ‘victims of crimes against humanity’. The resolution was proposed by an alliance of Catalan socialists and Basque nationalists. 

It refers specifically to Spain’s Historical Memory law, which was passed in 2007 despite strong opposition from the conservative PP, and formally condemned Franco’s regime, marking a departure from the silence of previous decades known as the Pact of Forgetting.

The resolution passed in Strasbourg with 456 vote in favour and 138 against. It doesn’t possess any real legal gravitas but will likely be used in Spain to help encourage a movement towards uncovering the full truth of what happened during Franco’s 1936-1975 rule. 

Mass graves have been dug up in Mallorca and statues torn down and streets renamed across Catalonia as people demand a measure of justice and at least some knowledge of what happened to family members and ancestors. 

One Catalan MEP said that only Cambodia has more officially missing people than Spain. More than 100,000 disappeared during the Civil War and during Franco’s dictatorship. 

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