Time for Spanish government to take concrete action to solve stolen babies scandal, says European Parliament

22 November 2017

Recommendations urging the Spanish government to take immediate measures to solve the stolen babies scandal, which has revealed that babies were stolen at birth and illegally adopted since the Franco era, were voted in the European Parliament today.

The report presents evidence gathered during a fact-finding visit to Madrid led North East Labour MEP Jude Kirton-Darling and it sets out what the EU Petitions Committee recommends in terms of action to the Spanish government.

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, member of the Petitions Committee and the rapporteur for this case, received a large number of petitions from those who were affected, including Catterick resident Ruth Appleby who believes that her baby was stolen in La Coruna in 1992.

Ruth’s case forms part of a much larger scandal from the time of the Franco regime where up to 300,000 new-born babies were stolen from mothers who were seen as unfit by the regime and often given to  families. The scandal broke in recent years and there have been moves in Spain for the full extent of the issue to be revealed and for cases to be fully identified.

Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East of England, said: "This report is an important step in the process of getting answers for those affected by this scandal. The delegation heard evidence from the public authorities, the Church, petitioners and those involved in investigating the alleged theft and illegal adoption of new-borns under the dictatorship and into democracy.

“The Spanish government must take on board our recommendations and proactively investigate what happened, and who was responsible. I hope our report can be of help for the petitioners, who have shown tremendous courage and strength, and I will continue to support them in bringing justice and finding the truth”.

The recommendations in the report call for:

  • A new public DNA bank for identity checks, free DNA tests for alleged victims
  • Appointment of a special public prosecutor dedicated to babies’ abductions and illegal adoption
  • Easier access to civil registries’ records, hospital birth registers and church archives
  • More funding for psychological support and legal assistance to victims
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