Pro-Búsqueda, a Salvadoran organization dedicated to finding children who disappeared during the civil war, reported today that early this morning, its offices were broken into. According to the National Civilian Police (Policía Nacional Civil, PNC), at least three unidentified persons broke into the facility, tied up the guard, and proceeded to burn files and steal computers.
To date, about 1,200 cases of forced disappearances of children have been reported to both Pro-Búsqueda and the government; the vast majority of these cases are linked to state agents.
WOLA is deeply concerned by this event and its possible connection with the debate about amnesty for human rights violations committed during the civil war. The break-in at ProBúsqueda comes only weeks after the unexpected closure of Tutela Legal—an organization that played a critical role in documenting abuses during the civil war—and the announcement that the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal to the constitutionality of the General Amnesty Law. It is crucial that the civil war-era files of human rights defenders are preserved. We urge the Salvadoran government to condemn today’s attack and to investigate and punish those responsible. We also urge the government to take steps to protect the various sources of data on human rights violations throughout the country.
WOLA Program Director