Search Commission for Disappeared Persons in El Salvador: Appointment of its members and preparation for installation

April 24, 2018
  • Leonor Arteaga, DPLF Senior Program Officer, has been named Commissioner for the National Commission for the Search of Persons Disappeared during the armed conflict in El Salvador (CONABÚSQUEDA).
  • The CONABÚSQUEDA was created by presidential decree on August 21, 2017, and will head the investigation on the whereabaouts of 10,000 disappeared persons.

On February 22, 2018, in a private ceremony in the Presidential House, the president of the Republic of El Salvador swore in the members of the CONABÚSQUEDA: P. Manuel Acosta as President of the Commission, and Salvador Menéndez Leal and Leonor Arteaga Rubio as Commissioners. The latter two members were nominated by organizations of the victims of forced disappearances and the civil society organizations that represent them. The three commissioners will work ad honorem
The CONABÚSQUEDA is a recently-created organism: it was established on August 21, 2017, according to Presidential Decree No. 33, after months of negotiations between government and civil society to reach a consensus on a legal proposal regarding the structure and functioning of an institutional search mechanism. 
What next? 
Within ninety days of the formal launch, the Commission must form a technical team to begin operational tasks, propose its operating regulations, and create a National Search Plan. This is no small task: in 1993, the Truth Commission for El Salvador registered 5,000 cases of forced disappearance during the internal conflict that lasted from 1980 to 1992; Although, while victims and human rights organizations have documented at least 10,000 cases.
At DPLF, we are convinced that Leonor's participation will be critical in order to take advantage of this crucial moment in Salvadoran history. This mechanism represents an unprecedented opportunity to respond to an important sector of society that has waited for the truth to come to light for decades.
We wish the best of luck to CONABÚSQUEDA, and from DPLF we will continue supporting its implementation, which should have a scientific approach and uphold respect for the victims, benefiting from comparative experiences.
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