miércoles, 9 de septiembre de 2009

Traducción: A Petition to Declare Francoist Repression Sites as "Places of Memory" and World Heritage Sites

En los últimos días he estado trabajando por email y del otro lado del Atlántico para crear una traducción al inglés del documento "Hacia la protección jurídica por ley de los lugares de la represión franquista como 'lugares de la memoria,'" colgado primero en el blog de Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Arias el 5 de septiembre de 2009 y difundido después en varios medios. Hoy he terminado la traducción, la cual ha pasado por varios borradores antes de llegar a su presente estado. Para todos, pero especialmente los lectores de habla inglés, la inserto abajo, teniendo en cuenta esta cita del blog en que el manifiesto apareció originalmente:
Todo apoyo en difusión de este manifiesto a otros webs o países – con especial atención a la Unión Europea dada la próxima Presidencia española pèro no sólo - , será igualmente bienvenido.
Por ahora, me limitaré a colgar el manifiesto y deciros que si deseáis suscribirlo, lo hagáis aquí en los "comentarios" del post o, si preferís, usando la dirección del email del blog. Gracias de antemano por compartir la traducción con amigos, colegas y otros contactos que no leen el español.

In recent days I have been working from the other side of the Atlantic and via email in order to create an English translation of the document "Hacia la protección jurídica por ley de los lugares de la represión franquista como 'lugares de la memoria,'" first posted on Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Arias's blog on September 5, 2009, and later picked up by different blogs and the like. Today I finished the translation, which has gone through several rough drafts before coming to its present state. I include it below for everyone, but especially for those English-speaking readers; also, I do so taking into account this quote from the blog where the petition first appeared:
All support to broadcast and transmit this petition to other websites or countries -- with special attention to the European Union, given the next Spanish presidency, but not only there -- will be equally welcome.
For now, I will simply post the petition and ask that if you wish to sign it, you do so using the "comments" feature of this post, or if you prefer, this blog's email address. Thank you in advance for helping the translation of this petition reach your friends, colleagues and other contacts that do not read Spanish.

Toward the Legal Protection of Francoist Repression Sites as “Places of Memory” and World Heritage Sites
(link to original in Spanish/enlace al original en español)

Our memory “law” does not ensure effective protection of Francoist repression sites dispersed throughout Spain, nor does it provide the necessary administrative tools to guarantee that these sites be identified, acknowledged and respected in the urban planning of our cities. Such places include: sites of execution by firing squad; mass graves; chasms, and other execution sites throughout the country; prisons and forced labor sites; torture centers; and buildings that are today anonymous but which were, in the past, illegal detention centers for men, women and children, and on occasion the place of purported child disappearances.

There is an irony in the fact that the “law” of memory is, in some ways, modeled on Franco-era laws designed to commemorate and protect sites of historical memory, such as the Order from May 1, 1940 regarding “exhumations and inhumations.” Yet the present law fails to provide the sort of legal protections and tools found in the April 4, 1940 Order: “Requiring that City Councils adopt measures pledging respect for those places where victims of the Marxist revolution are buried” (State Bulletin, April 5, 1940, page 2320). The Government of Spain might have taken its cue from the official proceedings of the Argentine Republic establishing official autonomous institutes for the promotion of human rights and memory of the crimes of the latter’s dictatorship, with the participation of human rights associations and organizations for the disappeared, in places like the ESMA, and the “Club Atlético,” the clandestine detention center initially torn down for highway construction, but later reclaimed for historical preservation.

In Spain, similar sites, due to the particular historical significance of the genocidal acts carried out there by the dictatorship, warrant consideration as sites of “exceptional universal value” by the Government of Spain and regional and local authorities. These sites should also be included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites, as symbols and reminders for all of humanity of the events that took place there. This initiative would look to several precedents in the practices of the international body, such as the 1979 recognition of the barracks and structures of Auschwitz Birkenau; the exceptional universal value of the slave quarters on the Island of Gorée (Senegal) in 1978; the 1996 recognition of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome), structure of the only building left standing; and that of the Bridge of Mostar, destroyed during the war in the former Yugoslavia and later reconstructed with the support of Spanish U.N. peacekeepers. This last site was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 2005 as a symbol of international cooperation and the co-existence of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities. In all these places, the victims and their eternal memory deserve to be honored and remembered by humanity.

In the Spanish context, the massacre of Badajoz weighs heavily on humanity’s conscience as the first major genocidal act by Francoist forces reported to the world by foreign correspondents. and its remains -- the cemetery wall and the bullring – merit particular consideration, together with the Guernica tree or the remnants of the former city of Belchite. The massacre of Badajoz is 20th century Europe’s first Srebenica.

Those who sign the present manifesto do so in order to make evident our rejection of such recurring attempts to deny history as those recently perpetrated by the local Granada authorities, when they removed from the Cementerio de Granada the plaque commemorating the 2,400 executions and disappearances under Francoism there; or those acts which removed names from street signs, like that dedicated to Margarita Nelken in Badajoz. We ask the Government of Spain:

1-for the creation of a complete map of the Francoist sites of memory and crimes against humanity in Spain. That it be distributed and included in textbooks and at all educational levels as the United Nations demands, as a form of reparation for the victims of manifest violations of human rights (Resolution 60/147, approved by the General Assembly December 16, 2005) and as part of the “duty to remember” incumbent upon the State in light of U.N. principles regarding the protection of Human Rights against impunity (United Nations Human Rights Commission, February 8, 2005), or in international texts like the Chicago Principles.

2-that, as in Argentina, “sites of memory” be recognized, regulated and protected as official autonomous institutes, with the participation of associations, victims’ families and local, autonomous and state officials. In addition, as the Argentine law 961/2002 envisions, that one recover and preserve each one of the stated sites and promote their “integration into urban memory,” and more broadly speaking, actively promote the “protection and transmission of the events” and “the deepening of the democratic structure, the consolidation of human rights and the triumph of the values of life, liberty and human dignity.”

3-that the Government of Spain begin an urgent dialogue on the process of submitting the cemetery wall and bullring of Badajoz as sites of memory before the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (and, as much as possible, broach their reconstruction as that of the Bridge of Mostar by Spanish U.N. peacekeepers), as well as settings of similar significance such as Guernica, Belchite, the Merinales forced labor camp and other sites of the Franco genocide. In so doing, we acknowledge their “exceptional universal value” in accordance with the same criteria employed to recognize the aforementioned sites.

4-that as part of the duties of reparation derived from that same Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations 60/147, and following the legal precedent of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Spanish State guarantee that streets and public buildings be named for the disappeared and murdered victims of Francoism. In addition, that plaques be installed indicating the victims’ original place of residence, as a matter of reparation and tribute to their memory.

5-that as part of the State’s duty to remember, a “Family Biography Archive” be established for each one of the disappeared, with the aim of gathering and preserving in different media the testimonies of the families of the disappeared and lost children. This memorial to the heroes of the Second Spanish Republic would gather all the names and allow future generations to be reminded of the Franco genocide and the voices of the survivors.

Translated by Kathy Korcheck

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