El Salvador: in memory of Fr Jon Cortina SJ

On December 11, Fr Jon Cortina SJ died of a cerebral stroke at the age of 71 in Guatemala. Born in the Basque country, Fr Cortina arrived in El Salvador fifty years ago where he was assigned as a young Jesuit. He will be remembered for the undeterred and courageous service he rendered to truth and justice throughout his life. His name is linked to that of Asociacion Pro Busqueda, a front-line human rights organisation that, together with a group of families, he helped to found. Its aim was to search out and identify those children who went missing by the hundreds during the bloody civil war that tore apart El Salvador for almost 12 years from 1980 to 1992. Many of these children were sold by army members to rich families in Europe and North America. Pro Busqueda promotes family and social reintegration, the right to identity of the victims of the civil war and engages in advocacy for their moral and material compensation. Since it was created in 1994, two years after the peace agreements and one year after the report of the Truth Commission in which no account was given for the disappearance of hundreds of children, the organisation has filed almost 800 cases and solved more than 300. It also took the Government of El Salvador to the International Human Rights Court for having violated the human rights of thousands of Salvadorians. To learn more about Pro-Busqueda and Fr Jon Cortina go to: http://www.probusqueda.org.sv/ (in Spanish)