Washington, DC—WOLA and 18 human rights organizations throughout Latin America have sent a letter to Archbishop Escobar Alas, Archbishop of San Salvador, on the Archdiocese’s abrupt closure of Tutela Legal.
Tutela Legal was founded in 1982 during the early years of the civil war in El Salvador, when some of the most brutal massacres and human rights abuses were taking place. The office played a critical role in documenting cases, preserving evidence, and bringing abuses to light. WOLA worked closely with Tutela Legal in those difficult years; the Archdiocese of San Salvador unexpectedly closed the office’s doors and laid off its staff on September 30.
The organizations that signed the letter to the Archbishop emphasize that Tutela Legal “played a key role in the fight against impunity in the country, a struggle is not yet over.” On the decision to establish an ad hoc committee to temporarily take over Tutela’s responsibilities and propose a framework for a new Church-affiliated human rights organization, the signatories say “We hope this new body is installed in the short term and that it will reflect the values and moral and ethical commitments of Tutela Legal.” They also mention their “particular concern” for Tutela Legal’s archives and ask the Archdiocese to preserve and care for these files and make them available to researchers and prosecutors when applicable.
Please click here to read the letter (only available in Spanish).