Women’s rights group files suit in Argentina over systematic Franco-era gender violence, rights abuse

Female relatives of Republican soldiers with heads shaved as punishment during Spain's Civil War. Photo: Público
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• Complaint says ‘liberated’ and Republican women targeted under Franco •

An international women’s rights organization based in Spain filed a complaint on Wednesday with a court in Argentina calling for the investigation of systematic gender violence against women as part of human rights abuses committed by forces loyal to Spain’s Gen. Francisco Franco during the country’s 1936-39 Civil War and afterwards during Spain’s 35-year-long Franco dictatorship.

The organization, Women’s Link Worldwide, filed the complaint with Argentine Judge Maria Servini, who has been investigating Franco-era rights violations since 2010, using the principle of universal jurisdiction for human rights issues and the denial of legal recourse to plaintiffs in Spain under a 1977 Amnesty Law passed two years after Franco’s death. An initial case filed in 2010 by a group of relatives of Spanish citizens believed to have been disappeared and presumed murdered during the Franco era has since been expanded by Servini to include additional complaints.

The suit filed yesterday names six Spanish women as examples of what Women’s Link Worldwide said was a double-punishment inflicted against untold numbers of women in Franco’s Spain, singled out and systematically shamed, tortured, raped, deprived of their children and murdered for being “liberated women” and for having male family members who served on the Republican side in the Civil War.

► Read More in Spanish at Público and El Diario …

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