In a very alarming event, unknown armed men ransacked the offices of ProBusqueda, the human rights organization in El Salvador which investigates the cases of children who were kidnapped or disappeared from their families during the civil war, and has successfully reunited hundreds.
From the blog of our friends at the SHARE Foundation:
At 4:30am this morning in San Salvador, three armed men forced their way into the office of Probusqueda, a prominent Salvadoran human rights organization that searches for and reunites children who were forcibly disappeared during the civil war with their families.
After the men attacked, tied up, and disarmed the security guard, they ascended to the second floor of the building, where Pro-Busqueda stored legal and advocacy documents, and burned archives containing police records that Probusqueda uses to search for lost children. They also stole two computers that held information concerning cases of the disappeared.
Probusqueda representatives disclose that this act has “sabotaged” their important archives. Victims and representatives of various human rights organizations and even Human Rights Ombudsman David Morales rushed to Pro-Busqueda this morning upon receiving the news. After inspecting the office, David Morales declared that all the evidence pointed to a planned attack with a clearly defined goal, as key organizational information was targeted. He also noted that the modus operandi of the attack mirrored attacks during the 1980s intended to indimidate human rights defenders. The recent, abrupt closure of Tutela Legal makes this incident even more alarming.
Pro-Busqueda is one of eight human rights organizations that constitute the Pro-Historical Memory Commission (PROMEMORIA), which SHARE accompanies in their work for truth, justice, and reparations for human rights violations during the war. Pro-Busqueda is the only Salvadoran human rights organization besides Tutela Legal to take cases of human rights violations to the Inter-American Human Rights Court and achieve a sentence against the Salvadoran government, with the case of the Serrano Cruz Sisters in 2006 and the Contreras y otros case in 2011. This April and May, Pro-Busqueda staff member and PROMEMORIA representative Marina Ortiz went on speaking tour with SHARE staff, visiting churches, universities, and community groups across the country.