Tod@s Nacimos Libres e Iguales
Title translation: We are all born free and equal
The United Nations recognizes December 10th as International Human Rights Day. Here in El Salvador, all of the major actors in the human rights arena gathered on Wednesday to give a report on the status of El Salvador’s struggle for human rights during 2014. David Morales, Human Rights Ombudsman began with encouraging news of the various achievements and advancements of human rights during the past year. Some of these include the promotion of the Law for Equality and Equity and the Law Against Violence Towards Women, the continued development of governmental programs like CONMIGRANTES and INJUVE, and a Constitutional Reform recognizing the rights of the indigenous population.
Luis Monterrosa, Director of IDHUCA , followed with his concise analysis of where El Salvador is still lacking. He identified four major concerns. The first is the overwhelming culture of violence that plagues every department in the country. His second point melted into the prior because it is, as he described it, “the conservative ideology” that aggravates and perpetuates the culture of violence. “Conservative,” in this context, does not refer to any political party or ideology but rather to El Salvador as a whole. Monterrosa firmly asserted that because Salvadoran conservative ideology prohibits the creation of a space for dialogue and resolution, violence in the country has exploded to never-before-seen levels. “It is our silence and conservative approach that has gotten us to where we are. Look at the case of the 17 women incarcerated for miscarriages. Look at the number of displaced persons due to violence,” Monterrosa passionately pointed out. His third concern is the justice system that failed time and time again this year. He denounced the Attorney General’s Office and the Legislature for not acting as they were elected to act. “They can’t be questioned. Look at the case of Padre Toño!
They do not administer justice in compliance with the law” Monterrosa fervently accused. He ended his discourse with his fourth concern: “None of these issues are new.” Perhaps this is the most frustrating observation for human rights promoters and defenders. Is there an end to human rights violations in sight? How do we even begin to tackle huge issues like the culture of violence or the failed justice system? The European Union, also present at the forum, suggested two plans of action. Starting in 2015 two new violence prevention programs will commence. One is aimed at caring for the victims of forced displacement, tending to their needs, and ensuring their safety. The other entails creating a network of human rights defenders and promoters educated on how to create a culture of peace. The European Union also administered funding for the defenders and promoters to teach classes to youth on the same topic.
Padre Andreu Oliva, the Rector of the UCA, reminded all those in attendance that if we are to see progress and an end to human rights violations in El Salvador, we are all to actively accept our roles as promoters and defenders of Human Rights. If we are a united front working together, we can insight change.
“Promotores y Defensores de los derechos humanos somos tod@s.”-P. Andreu Oliva
“We are all promoters and defenders of human rights.”