CISPES Responds to Raid and Seizure of CO-MADRES Headquarters

Press Release

July 30 is the commemoration of the student massacre carried out by Salvadoran officials in 1975, that gave way to the creation of the Committee of Mothers and Relatives of Prisoners, Disappeared and Political Martyrs of El Salvador (CO-MADRES). The organization was created with the objective of locating dozens of students detained or disappeared by the National Guard and Military. At 46 years since the tragedy, this emblematic organization has experienced a series of attacks reminiscent of those executed by the state apparatus during the 70 and 80’s.

On June of this year, CO-MADRES denounced the irregular eviction from their offices by the National Union Federation of Salvadoran Workers (FENASTRAS), who has alluded that CO-MADRES is no longer active due to the death of some members in leadership.
In addition, last July 20, unknown individuals raided the offices were archives were stored and stole files related to disappearances of children and adults during the armed conflict.

In response to the events, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES):

  1. Rejects the actions by FENASTRAS that seek to evict CO-MADRES from their headquarters which they’ve occupied since 1988. We call on FENASTRAS to honor their promise and make the legal adjustments necessary to ensure the handover of the building without relying on legal maneuvers that would be detrimental to the Committee.
  2. We exhort relevant authorities to investigate the case in a transparent and efficient manner, with a focus on justice and human rights, and not through processes tainted by sinister interests that seek to eliminate historic memory of the armed conflict and its victims.
  3. We call for an end to efforts to damage historical archives that are fundamental to the Salvadoran people’s and popular movement’s collective memory.
  4. We also believe it is urgent to establish protective measures for members of CO-MADRES, and for representatives of the opposition, popular leaders, social movement organizations and human rights and environmental defenders who are experiencing unjust political persecution.

In the same way, we are concerned with the silence on behalf of the Salvadoran government, given President Nayib Bukele’s ever worsening authoritarian tendencies and his anti-historic memory discourse which we consider represents a grave threat to popular movements struggles.  The Salvadoran people do not deserve to be a victim of violent and repressive practices like those exercised by military dictatorships of the last century.

CO-MADRES has carried out incredibly important work since 1975, building the first movement in the history of the country to support and accompany women and relatives of victims of forced disappearance in El Salvador.

In 2021, the struggle for truth and justice continues!

We reiterate our solidarity with the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives of those disappeared or assassinated during the war, whom the Salvadoran state continues to deny the right to truth, reparations and justice.

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