The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, was in El Salvador today for the commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the 1992 Peace Accords which ended El Salvador's bloody civil war.
In a speech to El Salvador's National Assembly Ban offered these thoughts:
Revive a new spirit of unity and solidarity. Work to deepen reconciliation within Salvadoran society. Fully realize the rights to truth, justice and the reparation of victims of gross violations of human rights in line with international commitments.
In a larger sense, the best way to ensure that no one is left behind is by bringing in your country’s many voices into the decision making process -- including women, indigenous peoples and young people.
About half of all Salvadorans were born after the 1992 peace agreement. Your large youth population can be an engine for transformation.
They need an inclusive economy that fosters investment, entrepreneurship, universal social protection and decent jobs. They need opportunities to contribute to the future of El Salvador without having to look abroad.In a press conference he stated:
El Salvador faces important challenges that can only be addressed through dialogue and collective action.
There is a need to uphold the spirit of the Peace Accords, deepen reconciliation and work together to reach consensus on key issues for the future of this country.
We are of course deeply concerned about the level of citizen security and violence throughout Central America and in El Salvador. I share the anguish and pain of so many innocent families who have suffered so much.
I am encouraged by the establishment of the National Council on Citizen Security and Coexistence. The United Nations stands ready to continue engaging in this process.
I am encouraged that the National Security Commission has submitted their recommendation yesterday to the President and we discussed with the President and the United Nations is fully ready to support this recommendation.
His Excellency, the President and I also discussed plans to widen consultation and dialogue on issues such as education, decent job opportunities and investment.
I also learned more about the recently launched five-year Development Plan, the priorities of which are aligned with those of the United Nations such as promoting an inclusive economic model and advancing universal social services and social protection.
I am also pleased that the Plan places human rights at the centre of policy making.
I have encouraged President Sánchez Cerén to continue working to strengthen the human rights of women, children, the LGBT community and indigenous peoples and to beef up institutions to end impunity.
The United Nations remains committed to continue working with Salvadoran institutions and civil society to consolidate the rule of law, ensure respect for human rights and promote sustainable and inclusive development.One spot on Ban Ki-moon's agenda was the tomb of Oscar Romero. He referred to this in his speech to the National Assembly:
From here, I will pay my respects at the gravesite of Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero.
Every year, the United Nations marks the anniversary of his death in a special way.
We have designated March 24 an International Day to pay tribute to the memory of the victims of gross human rights violations and promote the importance of the right to truth and justice.
In every corner of the world, people honour Monsignor Romero’s legacy by striving to make it real in our time. Let us continue to be guided by the example and the words of this mighty Salvadoran force for peace and justice.
As Monsignor Romero said:
“Unidad quiere decir pluralidad, pero respeto de todos al pensamiento de los otros, y entre todos crear una unidad que es mucho más rica que mi solo pensamiento.”
(Unity means plurality, but respect for all the thoughts of others, and together create a unity that is much richer than my single thought).