IACHR WELCOMES EL SALVADOR'S RECOGNITION OF RESPONSIBILITY
AND APOLOGY FOR GRAVE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
DURING THE ARMED CONFLICT
Washington, D.C., January 21, 2010 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its satisfaction over the recognition of responsibility and apology to the victims of human rights violations made by the State of El Salvador through its President, Mauricio Funes.
During the armed conflict in El Salvador, approximately 75,000 people were killed and 8,000 were victims of forced disappearances, including thousands of children. The entities of the inter-American human rights system have on various occasions spoken out about the State of El Salvador's international responsibility for the human rights violations that took place during the armed conflict.
On January 16, 2010, during the 18th anniversary of the Peace Accords that brought the Salvadoran armed conflict to an end, President Funes, speaking on behalf of the State, recognized the responsibility of State agents—armed forces, public security groups, and parastatal organizations—for having committed grave human rights violations during the country's armed conflict (1980-1992), and asked the victims and their relatives for forgiveness. He added that the crimes committed by agents of the State included "massacres, arbitrary executions, forced disappearances, acts of torture, sexual abuses, arbitrary deprivations of liberty, and various acts of repression. The majority of all these abuses were executed against defenseless civilians who were not involved in the conflict."
President Funes said it was necessary to take concrete actions to dignify the victims. He announced the creation of a commission that will propose measures for the moral, symbolic, and material reparation of victims of the internal armed conflict and their relatives, and the signing of a decree to create the National Search Commission for Disappeared Children.
The IACHR believes that the recognition of responsibility and the apology constitute an important reparation measure and assume a commitment to ensure that the grave violations that took place are not repeated. The Commission also commends the President's words with regard to the search for justice, and reiterates that it is the obligation of the State to conduct all necessary investigations—completely, impartially, and effectively—to officially clarify, determine responsibility for, and punish the perpetrators of the grave human rights violations committed during the Salvadoran armed conflict.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.
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