Basque human rights report documents abuses

More than 1,000 people killed in campaign for independence, says report

The study, presented yesterday by Basque premier Iñigo Urkullu, above, claims to be the first of its kind to document human rights abuses by all sides in the northern Spanish region’s territorial dispute. Photograph: Rafa Rivas/AFP/Getty Images

The study, presented yesterday by Basque premier Iñigo Urkullu, above, claims to be the first of its kind to document human rights abuses by all sides in the northern Spanish region’s territorial dispute. Photograph: Rafa Rivas/AFP/Getty Images

Sat, Jun 15, 2013, 01:00


Just over 1,000 people have been killed since 1960 by violence related to Eta’s campaign for an independent Basque Country, with almost 100 of them dying at the hands of the state security forces, according to a new report.

The study, presented yesterday by Basque premier Iñigo Urkullu, claims to be the first of its kind to document human rights abuses by all sides in the northern Spanish region’s territorial dispute.

Mr Urkullu, of the conservative nationalist PNV party, said the 18-page report sought “to guarantee justice, reparation and truth for all victims, without comparisons or discriminations”.

It was compiled by the bishop emeritus of San Sebastián, Juan María Uriarte, magistrate Manuela Carmena, human rights specialist Jon Mirena Landa and former politician Ramón Múgica.

Eta has not killed on Spanish soil since 2009 and announced the end of its campaign of violence in October 2011.

However, the terrorist organisation has criticised the central government’s failure to initiate a formal peace process in the region since then.

On Tuesday, Mr Urkullu took matters into his own hands, outlining a three-year peace strategy, including proposals for the release of some Eta prisoners and the group’s eventual disbandment.

However, any such plan put forward by the Basque regional government would almost certainly need the backing of Madrid to prosper.

The Basque leader also said he planned to commission a detailed report on allegations of torture of Eta suspects by the security forces over the decades.

Yesterday’s document said Eta had killed 837 people, a similar figure to estimates used by many officials and experts.

Perhaps more controversially, it said the state had carried out 94 killings, while another 73 deaths were attributed to extreme right-wing groups.

Gal, a state-sponsored anti-terrorist militia operating in the 1980s, is known to have murdered Eta members and several innocent people.