NEW government grants totalling €750,000 were announced this week to complete the retrieval of bodies from mass graves dug during the Spanish Civil War.

This is the first time the historical memory project has been given funding since the project was placed on hold by the conservative government in 2011.

Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party (PP) withdrew the project’s funding and appealed the Historical Memory Law, which had been championed by his socialist predecessor José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

The law acknowledges the victims on both sides of the Spanish Civil War, gives rights to them and their descendants and formally condemns the dictatorship.

Now, under a ministerial order announced by the Official State Gazette (BOE) this week, money will soon be available to complete the controversial project.

Over the next five years, support will also be given to local governments to help find the resting place of people who went missing during Franco’s dictatorial regime.

Most well-known of ‘Los Desaparecidos’ is the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who was executed at the beginning of the war in Granada.

There are more than 1,200 mass graves waiting to be excavated in Spain, according to Justice Ministry data. 

Forensic scientists have estimated that over 20,000 bodies could be retrieved over the five year period. 

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