Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights’

Radical Faith: The Assassination of Sr. Maura

October 26, 2016

We are excited to share with you a new book about the life and assassination of Sr. Maura Clarke, one of the churchwomen killed in El Salvador in 1980. Written by Eileen Markey, a delegate on our 2015 Remembering the Churchwomen delegation, Radical Faith: The Assassination of Sr. Maura explores not her murder, but her life and influences.

radicalfaithAs Eileen describes:

“This book traces not Maura’s murder but her life, asking how a beloved daughter from Queens, NY became a victim of the Cold War in a country far from home. In examining the forces that shaped Maura’s life, I was able to look closely at the inheritance of Irish nationalism, the immigrant experience in New York, the Cold War, the adaptations of the Catholic Church at Vatican II and the social and political movements that convulsed Central America in the 1970s and 1980s. Maura was shaped by each of these and is remembered with pride and affection by those who knew and worked with her–especially in Nicaragua and El Salvador. Her story continues to be relevant as the crimes of the 1980s in Central America begin to be prosecuted, the fall-out of those wars continue to reverberate in current immigration patterns, as Americans continue to grapple with the role of faith in public life and as we all negotiate a world of distraction and fear. Maura paid attention. She sincerely followed the very radical commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. I’ve tried to tell her story fully, with nuance and care so that this icon some of us know from prayer cards becomes a real woman again.”

The book may be ordered on Amazon or Indiebound.

Help spread the word about the book and Maura’s life by posting about the book on social media, asking your local bookstore to host a reading, teaching about it in college courses, or inviting Eileen to speak to your book club, school, parish study group, congregation, or organization. Download the book’s press release for contact information and to learn more.




35th anniversary of the martyrdom of Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Dorothy Kazel, and Jean Donovan

May 15, 2015


Dear brothers and sisters,

SHARE El Salvador and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, LCWR are inviting you to help us organize the 35th anniversary delegation to El Salvador to celebrate the lives of Ita, Maura, Dorothy, Jean, Carla and all the martyrs. Delegation dates: November 28 to December 5. Read More »

Food and Water: Human Rights? Not yet.

April 30, 2015

As April comes to a close, so does a hotly debated issue. The amendment to Article 69, that would define food and water as human rights, failed in El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly. But not all hope is lost.

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Salvadoran Families Struggle to Commemorate Their Disappeared

October 9, 2014

This article by Jeff Ritterman, MD was originally published in the Huffington Post on October 8th, 2014. Bethany Loberg is second author of this article. Bethany was the Human Rights Advocacy Co-ordinator for SHARE-El Salvador.

Beth article 1
All photos courtesy of Claire Moll, SHARE-El Salvador, Communications Coordinator. All photos are from a demonstration by the Relatives of the Disappeared, San Salvador, August, 2014. 

1980 was a tragic year for Sofia Hernandez and her family. Government security forces and right wing death squads were terrorizing the rural population of El Salvador. By March, Sofia’s family had fled their home in the countryside in hopes of finding safety. Two months later, Sofia’s brother was disappeared. By the summer’s end she was a widow. Her husband of 15 years, Juan, was murdered. Sofia’s daughter Norma, another brother, a nephew, and a cousin had also joined the swelling numbers of the disappeared.

Sofia Hernandez, like so many other relatives of the disappeared, searched for loved ones in military garrisons, prisons, hospitals, morgues, and even in garbage dumps, where bodies appeared daily. Most often they searched in vain. Decades later, many are still left with unanswered questions. Where is my son, my daughter, my mother, my father, my brother, my sister? Donde estan? Donde?

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Sanchez Ceren Commits to Reparations for Human Rights Violations

August 14, 2014

SHARE supports the Pro-Historical Memory Commission with a project to strengthen advocacy and take six cases of forced disappearance and one case of massacre to justice. Click here for current advocacy action opportunities in support of Pro-Memoria.

ProMemoria con Presidente Sanchez Ceren_Julio2014

Marina Ortiz with President Sanchez Ceren and First Lady Doña Margarita Villalta de Sanchez. (Courtesy Pro-Memoria)

True to his words in his inaugural address, President Sanchez Ceren has taken initial steps to establish coordination with the relatives of the disappeared and with the Pro-Historical Memory Commission to solidify a policy of reparations.

On Sunday, July 6th, Sanchez Ceren hosted representatives of each of the member organizations of the Pro-Historical Memory Commission and twenty-five relatives of the disappeared for a breakfast at the presidential residence.  The breakfast marks a symbolic commitment to work with victims and human rights organizations to address the still deep wounds left by egregious human rights violations during the war. Marina Ortiz, who participated as the representative of PROBUSQUEDA to the Pro-Historical Memory Commission commented “It was an important space for the victims, because it visibilizes them and the president showed a commitment to them.”

The following day, Monday July 7th, the president held a press conference announcing the creation of the Board of Directors of the Program of Reparations for Victims of the Armed Conflict, the committee created to oversee implementation of Executive Decree 204, a decree establishing a government program of reparations. The government issued the decree with such little fanfare last fall that even human rights organizations did not know it had been approved for a month. The decree and this committee are the fruit of coordination between the Pro-Historical Memory Commission (PRO-MEMORIA) and the Funes administration.  However, the press conference Sanchez Ceren held marks the first time this reparations program has been brought to the attention of the Salvadoran public.

Carlos Marvel presents a special gift of recognition to the President and First Lady.

Carlos Marvel presents a special gift of recognition to the President and First Lady.

Madre Guadalupe Mejia, Coordinator of the Pro-Historical Memory Commission and President of CODEFAM sends this message to the international community: it is important to remain alert, to watch and support this process, to ensure that it becomes a reality. We ask that you support us now just as people supported us during the war, that there be support for the process of reparation and healing.

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Repression continues 5 years after Honduran golpe de estado

July 9, 2014

On June 28th, the fifth anniversary of the coup in Honduras, members of SHARE and Sister Cities gathered with Salvadoran and Honduran social movement leaders outside the Honduran embassy in El Salvador to denounce the ongoing human rights violations in Honduras and U.S. military aid to an extremely repressive government.


Protesters staged a die-in at the press conference.

As representatives of Sister Cities and SHARE read denouncements of various acts of repression, participating Salvadorans fell to the ground one by one in a die-in representing all the Hondurans murdered at the hands of their own government and the Honduran oligarchy.

The most shocking act of repression occurred May 13th, when the military police beat congressional representatives from the Libre party inside the National Congress. Bartolo Fuentes, Libre party congressman present at the demonstration stated, if the military police will beat the members of congress, with the cameras rolling, what won´t they do to the people in the communities? The last weeks have also included assassinations of indigenous leaders, anti-mining activists, and journalists, as well as violent evictions of campesinos from their land in the Bajo Aguan. Read More »

Small groups changing the world

June 16, 2014

In March, human rights lawyer Wilfredo Medrano, part of the team of Tutela Legal María Julia Hernandez and SHARE staff Bethany Loberg traveled to the U.S. to raise awareness around the struggle for justice for crimes against humanity in El Salvador and the work of Tutela Legal and the Pro-Historical Memory Commission. Tutela Legal was the Archdiocese’s human rights office. Judy Swett and Kathy Tighe, Associates of the Sisters of St. Joseph Boston, who hosted the tour in Boston, share their reflections on the experience.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Wilfredo visits with a tour participant at St. Ignatius in Boston.

Wilfredo visits with a tour participant at St. Ignatius in Boston.

On a rainy, bone-chilling cold Sunday night in March a steady stream of Boston College students filled the pews at St. Ignatius, curious about the current state of Tutela Legal. They came to listen, reflect and question. The following night at Regis College, students including several of Salvadoran descent came to hear from Wilfredo Medrano of Tutela Legal and share in discussion about Tutela’s work. In both settings Wilfredo movingly shared the reality of being a lawyer committed to bringing the cases of forced disappearance, massacre, and torture to trial in El Salvador. All present witnessed the bravery of this former college student, who, inspired by Dr. Maria Julia Hernandez, a pioneer and founder of Tutela Legal, also became a fierce advocate for peace and justice through the full exercise of human rights. Read More »

Honduras: Urgent Action and Update

May 21, 2014

ACTION: TODAY IS THE LAST CHANCE TO CALL YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE TO SIGN ONTO A CONGRESSIONAL LETTER ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND DUE PROCESS IN HONDURAS. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ACTION ALERT (note in our original action alert, we had May 9th listed as the deadline, but it was extended until today, May 21st). Contact Bethany Loberg at for a list of congress people who have signed on and key congress people to call!

UPDATE: Human rights violations continue in Honduras, even in the halls of the Honduran Congress.


SHARE and Sister Cities delegates with Father Melo in November 2013. (Photo courtesy US-El Salvador Sister Cities)

Since the November elections, the situation of human rights violations in Honduras has only intensified.  Social movement activists, environmentalists, lawyers, campesinos, and journalists continue to receive threats and even to be murdered at an alarming rate. At the beginning of April, Carlos Hilario Mejía Orellana marketing director of Jesuit sponsored Radio Progreso was stabbed to death in his own home. The Radio station spoke out strongly against the coup and has offered a space for the voices of communities and social movement leaders, though not directly for any political parties. The radio has received many threats and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission repeatedly called for protectionary measures for 16 radio staff members, including Orellana. Some SHARE and Sister Cities delegates visited Radio Progreso last November and met with director Jesuit priest Ismael Moreno. Father Melo stated that the murder was “a direct attack not only on the life of our colleague, but a frontal attack on the work produced by Radio Progreso.”

Near the end of April, the Honduran government sent a letter to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, requesting that protectionary measures for human rights leaders be withdrawn, stating that the conditions that generated the need for the measures no longer exist, the political conflict of 2009 has been satisfactorily resolved and the November elections offer proof of this. Read More »

Targets of Repression: Case against young Salvadoran men

May 19, 2014

Geovanni leads a workshop in a marginalized urban community.

Geovanni leads a workshop in a marginalized urban community.

In a cinder block community center in front of a dusty ravine surrounded by dwellings constructed from sheets of corrugated tin, a group of women with sorrow etched into their faces gather to discuss ways to support their sons, unjustly sentenced and imprisoned in Mariona, one of El Salvador’s most notorious prisons. Nearly all of the mothers of these youth are part of the community council and have been community leaders for the last ten years, and their sons have followed in their footsteps, helping them construct the community center and seek access to decent housing. Nevertheless they have been targets of repression.

On Wednesday, March 26th, the leaders and members of the Santa Cecilia and El Progreso 3 communities near the center of San Salvador received a slap in the face. Eleven young men from the communities were sentenced to four years in prison, accused of illicit association, or being involved in gangs and of enacting specific roles within gangs. This sentence came as a shock to the community, who value these youth as community leaders who have helped support and organize construction of housing, organization of health campaigns, and soccer tournaments in the community.  FESPAD worked with a team of lawyers to help present an appeal. While they are hopeful about the outcome, the process can be long and slow and meanwhile the youth remain in prison. Click here to find out what you can do! Read More »

Standing for Justice for Grave Human Rights Violations in El Salvador: The International Community Calls for Action

March 28, 2014

Wilfredo Medrano of Tutela Legal Maria Julia Hernandez and Bethany Loberg of SHARE El Salvador are touring the East Coast of the United States increasing awareness of the movement for truth and justice in  El Salvador. So far they have visited Houston, North Carolina, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.

Even if you’re not able to join the tour you can be part of the movement for Truth and Justice in El Salvador by signing onto the following statement:

[emailpetition id=”4″]

Standing for Justice for Grave Human Rights Violations in El Salvador:

The International Community Calls for Action

March 2014 

As members of the international community – human rights, solidarity, faith and community organizations and individuals, we express our solidarity with the Pro-Historical Memory Human Rights Working Commission and with the victims of grave human rights violations in their demands that the government of El Salvador take actions to implement a holistic policy of truth, justice, and reparations.

Although 22 years have passed since the Peace Accords, El Salvador continues to suffer a high level of violence, concentration of resources, and impunity. With the General Amnesty Law and the lack of political will to implement justice, the majority of the grave human rights violations during the armed conflict continue in impunity. Healing the wounds left by past governments’ policies of terror is essential to achieve true peace. Otherwise the wounds will continue to manifest in violence and impunity today and in the future. Read More »

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