Communiqué From Human Rights and Victims Organizations Concerning the Creation of a Commission on the Situation of the Victims of Francoism.

The undersigned organizations express their satisfaction with the ROYAL DECREE, approved by the Council of Ministers in its meeting of 10th September 2004, which creates an Inter-Ministerial Commission to study the situation of the victims of the civil war and of Francoism.

We hope that the report which will be produced will demonstrate the real human tragedy which Spain suffered, lift the veil of silence which for decades has oppressed those who were defeated, and recognise that those values of liberty and democracy for which those victims of Francoism fought are precisely those values which we enjoy today.

We hope that the report honours the claims which have been presented jointly by the majority of those groups and associations who seek the vindication of the victims of the 2nd Republic, of the 2nd World War, of the exile and of the extermination which was carried out internally during the entire Francoist period.

These groups and associations represent those who were executed, imprisoned, exploited as slave labour, tortured, purged, exiled, robbed of their belongings and humiliated for decades.

The time has come to open the book of untold history to the new generations who know nothing of their collective past, in order that they may actively reject the absence of freedoms and social justice and properly appreciate the value of living together in peace and democracy.

But to achieve that the Government of Spain must establish the necessary conditions to ensure that the right to justice, the right to truth, the right to know and the right to reparation become legal realities pursuant to the international law of human rights and the international legal obligations assumed by the State.

Implicit in this is the need for an official statement concerning the illegality of Francoist acts which caused so much suffering in a country whose people gave the best of their lives to the defence of ideals which are enshrined in the Constitution as constituting community life; such a statement would thereby achieve compliance with General Assembly resolutions 32(I) of 9th February 1946 and 39(I) of 12th December 1946, by which the United Nations declared the Francoist regime illegal and compared it juridically to the German Nationalist-Socialist regime, the Italian fascist regime and Japanese national imperialism.

It would also go some way to putting right the fact that after more than 25 years of being a democratic state, Spain is the only European state once aligned with the Axis powers which has not declared null and void the juridical acts of the Government responsible for such criminal behaviour.

We ask that the Government finds enough political courage to establish a climate which permits open discussion of the tragedy, aloud and without fear. We also ask that it acknowledges as an institution the dignity and courage of those who risked their lives, their freedom or exile to defend democratic values in the same way as the allied countries who confronted with decisiveness the threats of Fascism and Nazism.

The nature of the crimes committed by the Francoist regime are clearly described in the documents approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations. In addition, at this moment in history, the Government knows that crimes against humanity have become a matter of jurisprudence admitted by the Spanish Supreme Court. This has the effect of making them problems for resolution by domestic law, given that by their nature they are imprescriptible and not subject to amnesty.

We also hope that the State - which we all represent - is capable of asking for the forgiveness of the Europeans who were victims of the collaboration with the Axis powers, as the Germans did while under the Chancellery of Willy Brandt - followed thereafter by other representatives of the German state; the very nature of this kind of acts has led to the same actions being taken by representatives of the Italian ultra-rightists, such as Gianfranco Fini, former head of the Italian Social Movement (“Movimento Sociale Italiano”) and of the National Democracy.

Forgiveness can only be given when justice has done its work.

Madrid, 11th September 2004
Endorsed by:
  • AFARIIREP (Association of Relatives and Friends of the 2nd. Republic Victims of Reprisals by the Franco Regime)
  • Association for the creation of an Archive of the Civil War, the International Brigades, the Children of the War, the Resistance and the Spanish Exile. AGE (Archive of War and Exile)
  • Association for the Descendants of the Spanish Exile
  • Association of Salamanca for Memory and Justice
  • Manuel Azaña Association
  • Nizkor Team
  • Republican Institute of Human Rights
  • Young People for Historical Memory "Amnesia"

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