Still Seeking Justice 30 Years After El Mozote Massacre

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(left to right) UN representative Robert Valent, Minister of Foreign Relations Hugo Martínez, and Human Rights Ombudsman Oscar Luna commemorate victims of El Mozote.

On Saturday Dec 10, more than 2,000 people gathered in the community of El Mozote in the province of Morazán to commemorate the victims of one of the largest and most notorious civilian massacres committed by the Salvadoran government during the country's  Civil War, a 12-year conflict funded by billions of US taxpayer dollars. The commemoration marked the 30th anniversary of the massacre as well as the 63rd anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and was organized by the El Mozote Association to Promote Human Rights, the office of El Salvador´s Human Rights Ombudsman, and the UN.

Watch a short English-subtitled video on the El Mozote massacre made by Cristina Starr with testimony from Rufina Amaya, the only surviving witness of the massacre of over 1,000 civilians - more than half of whom were children. El Salvador's Minister of Foreign Relations Hugo Martínez reiterated the formal apology for state-sponsored war crimes and human rights violations committed throughout the country's history, made by El Salvador’s first leftist head of state, President Mauricio Funes in 2009. “Unlike in the past, the position of our government is now to fully recognize the dignity and the rights of the victims of grave human rights violations,” said Martínez.

Human Rights Ombudsman Oscar Luna also spoke, classifying the massacre as part of the sweeping state-sponsored genocide of the Civil War.  He emphasized the victims’ and their families' right to truth, justice, and reparations, and criticized the 1993 Amnesty Law that prohibits prosecution of Civil War crimes as violating the victims’ right to justice. Luna also honored those who have dedicated their lives to fighting for justice. Salvadoran human rights activists will bring the case of El Mozote before the Inter-American Human Rights Court of the Organization of American States next year. CISPES honors the victims of the El Mozote massacre and we echo the Salvadoran people’s call for truth, justice, and reparations.

¡El Mozote nunca más!

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