The European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions approved on November 22 a series of recommendations following their fact-finding mission to Madrid last May to investigate several petitions of babies allegedly stolen at birth by hospital personnel across Spain.
The committee’s report and recommendations were passed with 20 votes to 9.
“This report is an important step in the process of getting answers for those affected by this scandal,” said the head of the delegation Jude Kirton-Darling (S&D, UK). “The delegation heard evidence from the public authorities, the Church, petitioners and those involved in investigating the alleged theft and illegal adoption of newborns 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.”
According to the MEPs, the public prosecutor must investigate the claims proactively and recommend appointing a special public prosecutor for this task, as well as a “pool of judges to conduct ad hoc investigations”. They also called for crimes to be prevented from becoming time-barred under statutes of limitations.
More specifically, the MEPs recommended that Spain creates a public and dedicated DNA bank for cross-checking information about potential victims of child abduction. The DNA tests should be free and without the need for an order from a court or public prosecutor.
Access to records in civil registries, hospital birth registers as well as parishes and religious congregations, should be made easier, to facilitate investigations. MEPs encourage the ecclesiastical authorities to recognise “their potential involvement in the abduction of babies and illegal adoptions” and to apologise to the victims.
Several cases of abducted children, most dating from the 1960s and the 1970s, have been denounced and investigated all over Spain in the last years.
The petitioners, who presented their case at the European Parliament in September 2017, claim that the parents were informed of the sudden death of the newborns and in many cases were not allowed to see the corpses.