WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
15 Nov 2019 | Media Advisory

Rep. James McGovern to Highlight Ongoing Fight for Justice in El Salvador on 30th Anniversary of Jesuits’ Murder

Washington, DC—This Saturday, November 16, at a commemorative event marking the 30th anniversary of the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests, a domestic worker, and her daughter by the military during El Salvador’s civil war, United States Representative James McGovern will deliver public remarks at an event held at the Central American University in El Salvador. His speech will commemorate those killed on November 16, 1989, and explore the current state of truth and justice in El Salvador today.

The brutal killings marked a turning point in the conflict, as it led the U.S. government to shift its support for the Salvadoran military and cut back millions of dollars in military and economic aid. At the time of the murders, the Jesuit priests were pushing hard for a negotiated settlement to the conflict; their deaths pushed the U.S. government to begin advocating more forcefully for peace talks.

El Salvador is still confronting difficult questions around the legacy of wartime atrocities such as the Jesuit massacre, with the country’s Legislative Assembly once again taking up the question of a new “national reconciliation” bill this week. Civil society and human rights groups have said versions of this proposed legislation could potentially guarantee impunity for both military officials and ex-guerrillas who committed human rights crimes during the 22-year civil war.

Rep. McGovern played a key role in working U.S. policy on El Salvador’s conflict in the late 1980s, having worked on the U.S. congressional task force created to investigate the killings of the Jesuits. As a Member of Congress, McGovern has continued to work actively on issues linked to truth and justice in the country, including helping to advocate for the creation of a national commission dedicated to searching for those disappeared during the conflict.

Both McGovern and Geoff Thale, the Interim President at human rights advocacy group the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), will be available to provide commentary and analysis to the press about U.S. policy on El Salvador and ongoing human rights and justice issues in the country, following the commemorative event.

WHEN: Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. CST

WHERE: Auditorium “Segundo Montes, S.J.”
José Simeón Cañas Central American University
Bulevar Los Próceres, Antiguo Cuscatlán, La Libertad, El Salvador, Centroamérica


Geoff Thale, WOLA Interim President, +1 (202) 664-7887

(503) 2210-6600, [email protected]