Sánchez presents the Grand Cross of Civilian Recognition to Victims of Terrorism to five Spaniards killed in attacks abroad

President's News - 2022.3.9

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San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Madrid

During his speech, Sánchez regretted that the lives of David Beriain, Roberto Fraile, Antonio César Fernández, Alberto Chaves and Juan Alberto González "were cut short too soon, leaving many unfinished professional projects and family projects with the people with whom they shared their dreams and desires up in the air". "With events like this, we intend to vindicate their legacy, their memory," he said.

The head of the Executive stressed that "victims of terrorism deserve the greatest recognition from a democratic society such as ours", since "they are one of the ethical pillars of our democratic system, they are a symbol of the defence of our freedoms, of our way of living together in democracy, in our rule of law, because they represent those values that the terrorists seek to destroy".

For this reason, he insisted that "preserving their memory is an exercise in respect and justice, but also an essential element so that future generations are aware of the seriousness of what happened, of the pain caused by terrorism throughout society and can prevent what has happened in our past from happening again".

An example of this commitment to victims is the Law on the Recognition and Comprehensive Protection of Victims of Terrorism, "a pioneering law in Europe and internationally, which places our country as a benchmark in the protection of the dignity and rights of victims", Sánchez added.

The head of the Executive highlighted two important changes to this law that were recently approved. Firstly, the full equalisation of the rights and compensation of Spanish victims of terrorist attacks abroad with those received by victims of terrorist attacks committed in Spain, regardless of the terrorist organisation committing the attack or the target. And secondly, the abolition of the deadline for applying for the decorations of the Royal Order of Civilian Recognition for victims of terrorism.

He also recalled that, with the fundamental objective of preserving the memory of the victims, on 1 June 2021, Memorial Centre for the Victims of Terrorism was inaugurated in Vitoria, through which more than 25,000 people have passed, and that, soon, a branch of this Centre will be opened in Madrid, which will have a more extensive route dedicated to jihadist terrorism.

More work needs to be done to improve victims' rights

Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaHowever, the head of the Executive assured that we must "continue working to improve the rights of victims, so as not to limit ourselves to due recognition, but also to reinforcing the memory policies that dignify them and dignify us as a society".

Thus, he advocated adapting its reparation to the new ways of acting of terrorist groups, bearing in mind that the fight against terrorism is no longer fought only within our territory. "As Spaniards and Europeans who defend a free and just international order, we are targets of terrorism anywhere in the world," he remarked.

Sánchez regretted that "terrorism continues to be a major threat to the social and democratic rule of law and to the values that guide us in Spain and Europe: democracy, freedom, tolerance and respect for human rights". In the case of Spain, he pointed out that "although the rule of law and especially the State Law Enforcement Forces and Agencies managed to put an end to ETA more than 10 years ago, the terrorist threat is taking on new forms and positions us to face new challenges".

Solidarity with the victims of the war in Ukraine

The president of the Government of Spain took advantage of his speech to express the Government's "profound solidarity with the victims of another senseless act, such as the unjust and criminal war we are witnessing today in Ukraine".

"I would like to express our support and our wishes for a speedy return to peace. Killing is just killing. Causing unnecessary pain and nothing else," he concluded.

Non official translation