BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA – President Jimmy Carter has been named the Honorary Chair of the Mauricio Aquino Foundation, the sponsoring organization of the Our Parents’ Bones Campaign, leaders of the Foundation have announced. The campaign is a new initiative to identify and rescue the remains of the Disappeared in the civil war in El Salvador in 1979-1992.
Since leaving the White House, President Carter has been involved in a variety of national and international public policy, conflict resolution, human rights and charitable causes. In 1982, he established The Carter Center in Atlanta to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering. In 2002 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work at the Center.
“We are truly honored to have President Carter lend his name in support of our efforts,” says Alexandra Aquino-Fike, chair of The Mauricio Aquino Foundation. “With his assistance, we hope to bring national and international attention to the outstanding issue of the 10,000 women and men, like my father, who were forcibly disappeared during the civil war. The truth about what happened to our parents and the whereabouts of their remains must come to the open in El Salvador.”
President Carter states, “Bringing resolution and reconciliation to the children and families affected by the forced disappearances in the Salvadoran civil war is a cause I can heartily support. The legacy of the war is an open wound for the survivors and for the society, and we hope to find a way to bring the healing truth to this unfinished chapter in El Salvador’s history.”
The Our Parents’ Bones Campaign is the convening voice of surviving children of women and men forcibly abducted by Salvadoran military and security forces during the civil war of 1979-1992. Many of these survivors live in the United States and are by-and-large American citizens and professional adults. They are searching for their parents’ bones, for the remains of their loved ones, so they can bring closure and reconciliation to themselves and their families.
Human rights organizations estimate 10,000 names on the list of outstanding forced disappearances, women and men who were illegally abducted by the Salvadoran governmental military forces and whose bodies or whereabouts are still unknown. To this day, the conservative majority in the Salvadoran Congress refuses to authorize the signing of international treaties against forced disappearances and the recent Attorney General left office without any diligent investigation of any case of forced disappearances. In addition, the country’s President and military leaders, despite recent Supreme Court rulings, have not issued any significant action or information in order to resolve these war atrocities.
The Mauricio Aquino Foundation, through Our Parents’ Bones Campaign, is organizing the voice of Salvadorans in the U.S. and the international community to: 1) support to the growing efforts of the human rights community in El Salvador for a post-war society’s healing and reconciliation based on the truth; and 2) increase the international community contribution to end the prevalent practice of impunity within government and judicial structures and the building of a more transparent, accountable political culture, a prerequisite to a healthy democracy.
Meetings of Salvadoran-Americans are happening in various metropolitan cities of the U.S. The first meeting was held in Los Angeles last September and three other meetings are being organized in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Houston.
The Our Parents’ Bones campaign is the sole project of The Mauricio Aquino Foundation (MAF), a nonprofit organization, designated by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity and incorporated in the State of California. MAF’s mission is the resolution of forced disappearances, the eradication of institutional impunity and the building of democratic institutions based on truth and reconciliation in El Salvador.
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