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  HOME | Central America

Salvadorian Who Went Missing in War Reunites with Family 32 Years Later

SAN SALVADOR – Salvadorian Jose Ruben Rivera has reunited with his biological family 32 years after he went missing during a military operation carried out during the civil war in the country between 1980-92, according to officials.

“I am very happy for him to be here with me and to be able to hug him. We have waited so long for him and now God has given us a miracle,” said Margarita Rivera, the biological mother of Jose Ruben who is currently residing in the U.S., according to a statement Thursday by El Salvador’s National Search Commission (NSC), which made the reunion possible.

Rivera was taken by the armed forces in 1982 when he was three years old during a military operation in La Joya in San Vicente, 60 kilometers (37 miles) to the east of San Salvador.

He was adopted by a family in the Salvadorian department of Zacatecoluca.

Rivera’s family, who had been searching for him all these years, filed a suit against the Salvadorian government with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which established reparation measures to search for and locate all the missing children, including Jose Ruben.

Other victims of this case include the siblings Gregoria Herminia, Serapio Cristian and Julia Ines Contreras Recinos, aged four years, 20 and four months, respectively, at the time of their forced disappearance in 1982 during a military operation in the central department of San Vicente.

The sisters Ana Julia and Carmelina Mujica Ramirez also went missing during the El Mozote massacre in 1981 in the eastern department of Morazan.

All except Julia Ines Contreras and the sisters have been found alive.

According to IACHR, the NSC is still looking for 129 more children who remain missing.

Since September 2011, the commission has solved 55 cases of the missing children out of which 18 have reunited with their biological families, 10 have been found, while 15 have died and the rest of the cases closed, IACHR added.

El Salvador has been found guilty on three occasions by the IAHR over the forced disappearance of children during the armed conflict.

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