SAN SALVADOR – The government of El Salvador called on Wednesday on international organizations to help support the work of a freshly established special commission in the search for the thousands of people disappeared during the civil war (1980-1992).
The call was made by the Deputy Minister of Cooperation for Development and Foreign Minister, Jaime Miranda, during his speech at the Forced Disappearance in Armed Conflicts: Search Models in El Salvador and Latin America forum.
Miranda said that “financial, technical and in-kind cooperation from national and international organizations” is needed and that the commission’s goal is “to encourage the meeting with their families or the return of remains” of the disappeared as a “respect for the dignity of the victim.”
On Sept. 27, the Salvadoran government presented an executive order which gives life to the National Commission for the Search of Adults Disappeared in the Context of the Armed Conflict (CONABUSQUEDA), expected to start operating in 2018.
During the forum, which was attended by the representative from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Regional Office for Central America, Alberto Brunori, different experts shared the experiences of Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Northern Ireland.
Brunori warned that since this executive order was made decades late, the search process must be done seriously so that it would “not disappoint, betray and frustrate the hope of the victims.”
“It is a process that must be built, which this is just beginning,” said the UNHCHR representative.
He added that “the task is not easy” and called on state institutions, especially the military, to collaborate in the search because there has not been any process of discovering the truth in the country.
The forum was sponsored by the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF), the Mauricio Aquino Foundation, the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and the Human Rights Institute of the Central American University (IDHUCA).
The Salvadoran Civil War between the US-financed Army and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) guerrillas, currently the ruling party, left about 8,000 people disappeared, according to official figures, although the estimate of non-governmental organizations was around 10,000.
CONABUSQUEDA’s preceding body is the National Commission for Tracing Girls and Boys Missing during the Internal Armed Conflict (CNB), created in 2010 in response to an international sentence for the forced disappearance of two girls during a military operation in 1982.