U.S. Congressman McGovern Applauds El Salvador Commission to Search for Those Who Disappeared During Civil War
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) made the following statement on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives applauding the creation of the National Commission to Search for Disappeared Persons in the context of El Salvador’s armed conflict:
“I commend President Sánchez Cerén, the Government of El Salvador and the Salvadoran people for working together to establish the National Commission to Search for Disappeared Persons in the context of El Salvador’s armed conflict (Comisión Nacional de Búsqueda de Personas Desaparecidas en el contexto del conflicto armado en El Salvador/CONABUSQUEDA).
“I am particularly grateful for the leadership of the Mauricio Aquino Foundation for bringing to this initiative the voices of Salvadoran-American families who still search for answers about what happened to their missing relatives and loved ones.
“I firmly believe that the establishment of this National Commission will play an important role in the effort to address El Salvador’s collective grief and heal the wounds of the past. Salvadorans deserve to know what happened to their family members, to bury them with dignity and love, should their remains be recovered, and to find some closure to their suffering.
“In El Salvador and the United States, it is critical for our governments, police, military, intelligence and other agencies to take extra care and effort to preserve all records and files that might provide any information, documentation, context or clues that might help solve the puzzle of each missing individual. These files should be made available to the National Commission in aid of this search.
“I wish the National Commission/CONABUSQUEDA every success in its humanitarian mission and I call upon my own government to support its important work.”
In addition to today’s statement, Congressman McGovern sent a letter to President Sánchez Cerén this week saying the commission will play an important role in the search for answers for the children, parents and siblings of some of the thousands who disappeared during the Salvadoran civil war.
Click here to view Congressman McGovern’s letter to President Sánchez Cerén.
Full Text of McGovern’s Letter to President Sánchez Cerén is Below:
The Honorable Salvador Sánchez Cerén
President of El Salvador
San Salvador, El Salvador
Dear President Sánchez Cerén,
I write to offer my congratulations and support for your decree establishing a National Commission to search and resolve cases of the disappeared from El Salvador’s civil war. I regret that I cannot attend Wednesday’s announcement and formal launch of the Commission due to urgent matters before the U.S. Congress here in Washington, D.C.
I would like to express again my appreciation for your time and that of your ministers and officials this past January you met with a delegation from the Mauricio Aquino Foundation, other human rights groups, and Salvadoran and Salvadoran-American families who are still searching for answers about what happened to their missing relatives and loved ones. It was a powerful and moving experience for me, and I could see that even the opportunity to meet with you and discuss directly the pain of their not knowing was an act of healing.
I firmly believe that the establishment of a National Commission to Search for the Disappeared will be a valuable contribution for the families and children of the missing and a valuable part of your legacy as president. It will play an important role in the effort to address El Salvador’s collective grief and heal the wounds of the past. I appreciate your commitment to seeing it established in a timely manner.
For the Commission to be successful, each of our countries must now take extra effort and care to preserve and make available to the Commission all government, military, intelligence and security records of the period that might help shed light, provide information, clues, context or other documentation that might help solve the puzzle of each missing individual. This is the minimum we can do for these grieving individuals and families.
Once again, thank you for your leadership on establishing this National Commission and further advancing peace and reconciliation in El Salvador. Please know that I will do all that I can to support this important initiative.