This year marks the 35th anniversary of the horrific massacre in El Mozote in El Salvador. During the El Salvador civil war in 1981, more than 1,000 villagers, mostly women and children, were murdered by the Salvadoran army. El Mozote is known around the world as one of the largest and most bloody massacres to have been committed in Latin America. Of the 1,000 people who were murdered, 400 were children.
María Dorila Márquez de Márquez has dedicated her life to supporting the survivors of the El Mozote massacre. She was a key actor in helping the survivors and their families to achieve the landmark ruling from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that El Salvador should investigate the human rights violations perpetrated during the armed conflict, and directed the government to pay reparations.
“I am the President of the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights El Mozote. The organisation was founded, and has obtained legal capacity thanks to the support from the projects funded by Misean Cara,” said María.
“On a community level, thanks to having the association legalised, we have had the opportunity to open a dialogue with different governmental departments, through which we have obtained improvements to the existing monument in remembrance of the victims of the massacre; and in the area of family health we now have a team of community health professionals working with the local population and our families.”
For decades, the suffering of the few survivors was met with indifference. The Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary mobilized survivors by forming the Promotion of Human Rights Association to advise and teach the families of the victims about the legal process to advance the case of El Mozote.
This has been successful, and in January 2012 the Salvadoran State finally accepted its responsibility for the events of the massacre, and committed to the payment of reparations for the lives lost.
Support from Misean Cara has allowed the community in El Mozote to begin to move forward from its brutal past, and in its fight for justice. Healing is a major component of dealing with the massacre.
Photo Caption: María Dorila Márquez de Márquez and her team from the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights El Mozote. Photo: Misean Cara.