From suffering, hope and strength
May 29, 2014
This week the Salvadoran Pro-Historical Memory Commission (Pro-Memoria) commemorates the International Week of the Detained and Disappeared with various educational events and advocacy actions. The Latin American Federation of Associations for Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared (FEDEFAM) first designated the last week in May as the International Week of the Detained and Disappeared in 1981, with the intent of bringing attention to the involvement of governments of many countries in forced disappearance and calling for truth, justice and an end to forced disappearance.
Human Rights Ombudsman David Morales
(Photo courtesy Pro-Memoria Histórica)
In El Salvador, government security forces detained and disappeared over 10,000 civilians during the civil war. Their relatives still seek to know what happened to their loved ones, unable to have closure without truth. At Sunday’s commemorative mass, Human Rights Ombudsman David Morales recognized the terrible impact of forced disappearance. “It means permanent mourning, and this suffering is a form of torture. The mothers and children of the disappeared continue to feel like it just happened yesterday. The disappeared are not an occurrence of yesterday, they are with us today. Forced disappearance is an ongoing crime, repeated every day the remains are not found.”
Join us this Saturday for a webinar to hear directly from members of Pro-Memoria and relatives of the disappeared about their struggle for justice. Register here!
One of the mothers of the disappeared, Marta María Martinez, shares with us what the International Week of the Detained and Disappeared means to her:
“It is something very deep. The government collaborated in forced disappearance. One doesn’t know where the disappeared are, or what they did with them. It is very painful, never to know. One’s loved one is left like an animal. They don’t recognize the value of Christian burial. Because one is poor, they look at you as less, treat you like garbage. We are humans, the disappeared are our loved ones, and not knowing what happened to them hurts. We have faith that this government will act to clarify what happened to so many children, youth, and elderly forcibly disappeared. It isn’t just. They disappeared six of my relatives – my niece along with her husband and son, my other niece, my brother, and his son. We looked for them everywhere. One remembers, thinks, and doesn’t know what to do, where to look. Not knowing is horrible.” Read More »