Grande-Marlaska at the UN: "Spain is proof that democracy and the rule of law can defeat terrorism"

News - 2022.9.8

From the podium of the United Nations General Assembly, Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska called for the memory of the victims of terrorism to be a tool for peace and harmony and an antidote to radicalism. "We must remember the victims, recall their sacrifice and their example. They are the ethical and moral benchmark of our democratic values. They are the symbol of a world that stands for peace and freedom vis-à-vis terrorist desolation," he stressed.

The minister made this statement at the opening session of the United Nations World Congress on Victims of Terrorism, which is being held from Thursday at the United Nations headquarters in New York (United States), and which brings together government representatives, victims of terrorism from all over the world, and academics and experts in the field.

The Minister for Home Affairs began his address to the General Assembly by thanking the United Nations Secretary General for the invitation extended to Spain to take part in the opening of this forum. "It is a privilege to take part in the opening ceremony of this World Congress. My first words are to confirm Spain's firm commitment to the objective of this forum: to promote the rights and needs of the victims of terrorism," he said.

Grande-Marlaska indicated that "the vast majority of countries in the world" have suffered the "irrational and brutal violence of terrorism", not least our country. "Spain bears sad witness to the harshness with which terrorism strikes our societies, but it is also, and despite so many wounds, a symbol of hope. Spain is proof that democracy and the rule of law can defeat terrorism," he said.

From the rostrum of the United Nations General Assembly, the minister explained to the hundreds of participants at the Congress that this victory for the rule of law has been made possible thanks, among other factors, to "the ethical example and the colossal dignity of the victims of terrorism and their families".

Grande-Marlaska described the legal framework put in place in our country to recognise, honour and compensate the victims of terrorism, with its core element evident in the unanimously approved Law 29/2011 on the Recognition and Integral Protection of Victims of Terrorism.

"It is certainly a legal obligation, but it is also a deep conviction of Spanish society, which has imposed on the state the duty to promote policies that preserve and dignify the memory of the victims of terrorism. Spanish society has forbidden by law that their memory be lost," he said.

Memory is justice

The Spanish Minister for Home Affairs went on to call for the memory of the victims to be preserved. "It is essential that we remember, because memory is not only justice for the victims, but it is also proof that this world does not tolerate the injustice of forgetting as the price paid for peace and freedom," he said.

"Spain, the Spanish people, have decided not to forget", underlined Grande-Marlaska, going on to advocate that the World Congress being held in New York "should become the genesis of an efficient mechanism that allows us to settle this outstanding account with the victims of terrorism under the protection and with the encouragement of the United Nations".

The minister assured that the United Nations and the other UN member states can "always count on Spain as the firmest ally in any initiative to recover and disseminate the memory of the victims".

"In the defence of human rights, in the fight against terrorism and in the protection of its victims, the international community will always find in Spain its staunchest ally," he reaffirmed before the United Nations General Assembly.

Memorial Centre

The opening ceremony of the congress, organised by the Counter-Terrorism Office (UNOCT) with the aim of promoting and protecting the rights and responding to the needs of victims of terrorism, will be followed by various forums and activities involving representatives of member states, victims, civil society organisations, experts and academic researchers.

The minister will take part this Thursday, together with the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for the Counter-Terrorism Office, Vladimir Voronkov, in the presentation to the United Nations of the Memorial Centre for the Victims of Terrorism which is based in Vitoria-Gasteiz and will open its doors to the public in June 2021.

In addition to a photographic exhibition showing the museum design of the Vitoria centre, attendees at the presentation will be able to take part in a round table discussion moderated by the Spanish ambassador to the United Nations, Agustín Santos, with the participation of the director of the Spanish Memorial Centre, Florencio Domínguez; the French Government's inter-ministerial delegate for assistance to victims of terrorism, Frédérique Calandra, and the Norwegian deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Odd-Inge Kvalheim.

Among other activities, this Wednesday Grande-Marlaska visited the 9/11 Memorial and its Memorial Museum, where a tribute was paid to the victims in the week of the 21st anniversary of this attack.

Non official translation

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