• Amnesty International says Spain stonewalling justice for Franco-era victims
• ‘Ask for Justice at Christmas’ focuses on families seeking loved ones’ remains
Amnistía Internacional España, the Spanish section of the global human-rights campaigning organization, Amnesty International, has launched a video campaign in the run-up to the year-end holidays calling on Spaniards to ask this Christmas for justice for the families of victims of atrocities and human rights abuses committed during the 1936-39 Spanish Civil war and subsequent 37-year dictatorship.
The campaign was launched last week with a press conference at which Amnesty Spain’s director, Esteban Beltrán, said that Spanish government authorities continue to systematically obstruct probes into crimes committed by forces loyal to Gen. Francisco Franco immediately following the July 1936 military uprising against Spain’s democratically elected Republican government, the bloody three-year civil war that followed and the dictatorship that lasted nearly four decades until the death of Franco in 1975.
The video campaign, designed to raise awareness among Spaniards and worldwide about the ongoing failure of Spain to provide justice to the families of victims by allowing investigations into what actually happened to them and the location of their remains, began last week with a holiday-themed 40-second spot video showing three generations of a Spanish family readying for a holiday celebration. The doorbell rings and a little girl runs in anticipation to see who is there, but there is no one — signifying the void that many Spaniards still feel when they think about the thousands of family members who were disappeared, executed or died in captivity and were buried in unmarked graves across Spain.
Amnesty is following up with a series of brief video interviews with family members of those who were victims of crimes both during the civil war and the Franco dictatorship, including 83-year-old Antonio Narváez, whose father was summarily executed and whose mother was arrested and disappeared in 1936, never to be heard from again. Eight decades later, Narváez is still searching for their unmarked graves, hoping to learn what really happened to them, to recover their remains and give them a proper burial.
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