World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN Expert: Spain should trust its democracy

“Spain should trust its democracy and work for victims’ rights” – UN expert on transitional justice

MADRID / GENEVA (5 February 2014) – The UN international expert on transitional justice, Pablo de Greiff* urged the authorities to “trust their institutions and their democracy and not to postpone measures for justice, truth and reparation for the victims of human rights violations committed during the Civil War and the Franco dictatorship”.

“Spain is a mature democracy and the strength of its institutions allows asserting that today the country does not face any risk of institutional breakdown. This is by itself a guarantee of non-recurrence,” said the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence appointed by the UN Human Rights Council.

Concluding his official visit to Spain, Mr de Greiff highlighted that “genuine reconciliation requires the implementation of these four measures: truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence,” that represent the four pillars of his mandate.

“It is essential that the State finds ways to provide access to justice for the victims,” the human rights expert said, reiterating recommendations made by other UN bodies on matters of justice, including the withdrawal of the Amnesty Law.

“In practice,” the Rapporteur pointed-out, “the Amnesty Law, the prescription of the crimes, the non-retroactivity of the law, the presumption of the death of the perpetrators, are arguments used to file the cases, without investigation.”

Mr de Greiff emphasized the fundamental value of the investigation for the realization of the right to truth. “The State must promote greater awareness on the obligation to protect the rights that the alleged perpetrators hold, as well as the victims’ rights,” he said.

In relation to truth, the Rapporteur expressed concern about the fragmentation of existing information, mainly gathered thanks to the efforts of historians, investigators and the victims and their relatives.

In that regard, he recommended the establishment of a mechanism to ‘officialise’ the truth, “to coordinate efforts and centralize information about all the victims, regardless of the side or political affiliation of the victims or the perpetrators.” The Rapporteur urged both State institutions and civil society to focus the debate on the notion of rights, beyond political considerations.

Transitional policies in Spain have focused on the element of reparation. However, one of the main demands of the victims and their relatives relates to the adoption of programmes which include categories of victims of human rights violations that are not covered by existing programmes, in addition to the annulment of the sentences pronounced by courts created during the Civil War and the Franco dictatorship.

“The impact of the conflict and the dictatorship on women is also an element that should be considered as a priority,” the Rapporteur said.

During his official visit to Spain, Mr de Greiff met with a large variety of representatives of the executive branch, the legislative and the judiciary, with Ombudspersons and institutions of historic memory, as well as representatives of the civil society, including victims, relatives, organisations and academics, both at central level, and in the Autonomous Communities of Andalucía, Cataluña and Galicia.

The Rapporteur visited several memory sites, including the Valle de los Caídos, the cemetery of Paracuellos de Jarama, the so-called Canal of the Prisoners (Canal of Bajo Guadalquivir) and the remaining of the concentration camp of Los Merinales, close to Seville, and the mausoleum built on a mass grave in Cazalla de la Sierra. He also visited the mass grave of the Fossar de la Pedrera and the Montjuic Castle in Barcelona, as well as the Island of San Simón in Galicia.

The Special Rapporteur will present his final report on his visit to the Human Rights Council in September 2014.

(*) Read the full statement of the Rapporteur concluding his official visit to Spain.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

As Health Needs Rise In Somalia, Funding Hits New Low

As health needs rise in Somalia, funding hits new low, cutting off 1.5 million from care – UN More>>

Need To End Violence Against Children In Conflict

‘We should be outraged’ more not being done to end violence against children in conflict – UNICEF chief More>>

On Mandela Day, UN Joins Call To Promote Community Service

Nelson Mandela, then Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran More>>

Some $3.2 Billion Needed For Ebola Recovery Efforts

Some $3.2 billion needed for Ebola recovery efforts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – UN More>>

World Day: UN Spotlights Plight Of Vulnerable Populalations

Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting near the Syrian city of Kobani wait in a holding area before boarding buses in Turkey (September 2014). Photo: UNHCR /I. Prickett More>>

Afghanisatan: Direct Talks Between Government And Taliban

The United Nations Security Council has welcomed the recently held direct talks between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives as a step towards “peace and reconciliation” in the region. More>>

Eradicating World Hunger By 2030

Agriculture workers collect carrots on a farm in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann More>>

Bangladesh: Flood Leads To UN Agency Providing Food Relief

Anwar Hossain unloads cartons of High Energy Biscuits from a pickup truck and transfers them to a distribution center in Kawar Khop union, Ramu upazila, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: WFP/Kamrul Mithon More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news