Members of Congress Call for Obama and Sánchez Cerén to Take Action on Enforced Disappearances in El Salvador's Civil War

August 24, 2016

On August 15th, 2016, Representatives Jim McGovern and Norma Torres led a group of 26 members of Congress in a letter calling on President Obama to declassify U.S. military and intelligence records and reports that have not been previously released that relate to unresolved cases of disappearances and human rights abuses during the period of the civil war in El Salvador.

Congressman McGovern is the co-chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and Congresswoman Torres is the co-chair of the House Central America Caucus. In April 2016, the commission and caucus hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill with Salvadoran and Salvadoran-American family members whose loved ones disappeared during the civil war, and the Salvadoran Human Rights Ombudsman, with the support of WOLA and DPLF.

Additionally, McGovern and Torres led a group of 21 members of Congress in a letter calling on Salvadoran President Sánchez Cerén to establish a national commission to investigate and resolve the cases of the disappeared in El Salvador.

Various Salvadoran and allied organizations also previously requested that the Salvadoran President establish a similar commission, including the creation of a genetic database and the declassification of related military files.

The United Nations Truth Commission for El Salvador reported 5,000 forced disappearances between 1980 and 1992. But since the Truth Commission’s report was released, this estimate has increased to be closer to 10,000. Not one case has ever been resolved or investigated by state institutions.

Read letter to President Obama  here

Read letter to President Sánchez Cerén here

Read press release by Representative McGovern here