SPANISH MPs have approved a new law that will enshrine the memory of victims of dictator General Franco.

The bill was backed by 173 lawmakers in Congress on Thursday after a long and heated debate.

159 MPs voted against the bill, while there were 14 abstentions.

It is the latest move by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to heal divisions and recognise Spain’s history during the 1930s Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship until his death in 1975.

The proposed legislation, which will be ratified in the upper house of Congress later in the year, will for the first time make it a “state responsibility” to search for the missing victims of the Civil War.

The government is to draw up maps of where the bodies of an estimated 100,000 people still missing may be located.

It will also set up a DNA bank to help with the identification processes.

The missing are those who opposed or were considered to oppose Franco and were subsequently killed and buried in unmarked graves.

Protest Against Franco Crimes In Madrid
RELATIVES SEEK ANSWERS, MADRID 2021(Cordon Press image)

The law aims to improve on a 2007 Law for Historical Memory that experts and activists agreed fell far short of emptying the hundreds of still-untouched mass graves and addressing many other issues.

The new law nullifies the legality of Franco’s courts and their rulings.

It also bans the Francisco Franco Foundation, a private institution dedicated to preserving his legacy, and all glorification of the brutal dictator.

The law aims to improve on a 2007 Law for Historical Memory that experts and activists agreed fell far short of emptying the hundreds of still-untouched mass graves and addressing many other issues.

The legislation creates a State Prosecutor Office for Human Rights and Democratic Memory that guarantees the right to investigate the human rights violations during the war and dictatorship.

The main conservative opposition Partido Popular (PP) has repeatedly accused the Sanchez government of trying to revive the wounds of the past and says they will repeal the new law if they win this autumn’s general election.

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