El Salvador: March memories

March 2003 — the tenth anniversary of the UN Truth Commission Report publishing the names of those responsible for atrocities in El Salvador in twelve violent years from 1980-1992. Rutilio Grande SJ (1977), Monsignor Oscar Romero (1980), Marianella Garcia Villas, President of the Human Rights Commission (1983), were all killed in March. And (irony of ironies), in March 1993, a ?General Amnesty for the Consolidation of Peace? was approved, pardoning the perpetrators listed in that UN Report, the killers of thousands of nameless victims who perished as though they had never been. In their memory, the Jesuit University of Central America ?José Simeón Cañas? (UCA) of San Salvador organises every March a ?Festival Verdad? (festival of truth), creating a place where victims of exclusion and intolerance can meet, keeping alive the memory of the dead. Their struggle for human rights and justice is remembered in this academic setting through reflection, art, and cultural events. At the last festival, a Central American Meeting on Truth, Peace and Justice brought together participants from 12 countries. They offered a plan of action to reclaim the dignity and honour of the victims; to spread abroad the truth of what happened; to bring the killers to justice; to ask every country to ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court; and to work for a new concept of peace. In 1985 Segundo Montes Mozo SJ founded the Institute for Human Rights of the UCA (IDHUCA). Four years later he was killed by the Salvadorian military with other five Jesuits and two lay women, but his institute still accompanies the poor in their struggle for justice, calling the people to analyse consciously the circumstances that degrade life in El Salvador and suggest ways to overcome them. See www.uca.edu.sv [HL30503]