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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Forced Disappearances During El Salvador’s Civil War and Their Consequences Today

Thursday, April 14, 2016 - 10:00am
2456 Rayburn House Office Building


Briefing Series on Accountability

Please join the Congressional Central America Caucus and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a briefing on unresolved cases of forced disappearances that occurred during El Salvador’s civil war and their impact on efforts to strengthen rule of law in El Salvador today.

According to the Truth Commission for El Salvador, a United Nations-sanctioned commission that examined human rights abuses committed during El Salvador’s brutal civil war in the 1980s, at least 5,500 people were forcibly disappeared. Non-governmental organizations cite figures as high as 10,000 forced disappearances. None of these disappearances has ever been fully investigated, nor have those responsible been prosecuted. As El Salvador seeks to strengthen its criminal justice system and consolidate the rule of law, and with a new Attorney General in office, these forced disappearances have reemerged as a prevalent issue. Family members of the disappeared residing in the United States have launched the Our Parents’ Bones campaign to urge the Salvadoran Government to address the unresolved cases. 

The briefing will provide panelists the opportunity to discuss the issue of forced disappearances as it relates to the current situation in El Salvador today. Family members of those forcibly disappeared will speak about the human consequences of the disappearances, their unanswered questions, their desire for justice and for closure, and their expectations of the current Salvadoran government. El Salvador’s Human Rights Ombudsman will analyze the implications of the unresolved cases of forced disappearances for the country’s human rights situation today.

As part of the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America, the Obama Administration is investing in efforts to strengthen governance and the rule of law in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. The briefing will shed light on the challenges that El Salvador faces and offer recommendations for U.S. policymakers.

Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media are invited to attend this important briefing. For any questions or to RSVP, please contact Clay Boggs (Rep. Torres) at 202-225-6161 or; Andrew Renteria (Rep. Valadao) at (202) 225-4695 or; Kimberly Stanton (Rep. McGovern) at (202) 225-3599 or; or Isaac Six (Rep. Pitts) at (202) 225-2411 or

Hosted by:

Norma J. Torres, M.C.
Co-Chair, Central America Caucus
David G. Valadao, M.C.
Co-Chair, Central America Caucus
James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chair, TLHRC
Joseph R. Pitts, M.C.
Co-Chair, TLHRC


Opening Remarks

  • Rep. James P. McGovern, Co-Chair, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
    Written remarks


  • Alexandra Aquino-Fike, Daughter of a disappeared father and Co-Founder, Mauricio Aquino Foundation
  • Sara Aguilar, Daughter of a disappeared father
  • Jimmy Francisco Ortiz Rodriguez, Nephew of two disappeared uncles
  • David Morales, Human Rights Ombudsman, El Salvador


  • Leonor Arteaga, Senior Program Officer, Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF)





114th Congress