“I write to express my support for the establishment of a national commission in El Salvador to resolve the cases of Salvadorans who disappeared during that country’s civil war,” writes Congressman Adam Smith, Democratic Representative for Washington State’s 9th District, in a October 12 letter to Jean Manes, US Ambassador to El Salvador.
“Over the summer, family members of those who disappeared and victims’ groups came to Washington to share the tragedies of the disappearances and seek the truth of what happened during the conflict,” Rep. Smith’s letter continues, in reference to a recent delegation to Washington, D.C. by representatives of Our Parents’ Bones, an organization founded by Salvadoran-American children of the disappeared. The delegation was accompanied by then-Salvadoran Human Rights Ombudsman David Morales and Prof. Angelina Snodgrass Godoy, director of the University of Washington Center for Human Rights’ Unfinished Sentences project.
Following the delegation, 26 Members of Congress, including Rep. Smith, signed a letter to President Obama calling for the declassification of US government records on human rights abuses during El Salvador’s armed conflict, including forced disappearances. 21 Members of Congress also called on Salvador Sánchez Cerén to create a national commission to investigate cases of forced disappearance.
“Creating a commission on the disappeared could help bring a measure of peace to their families and would also be a significant step forward for transparency and the advancement of the rule of law in El Salvador,” Congressman Smith writes, urging Ambassador Manes to provide the Government of El Salvador with assistance and support in both the creation of a commission and the resolution of other cases of human rights abuses.
Read Congressman Smith’s full letter below, and join Our Parents’ Bones in taking action for the truth on forced disappearances and other human rights abuses during the Salvadoran conflict.