AHA Urges Investigation of Destruction of Archives in El Salvador

Debbie Ann Doyle | Mar 1, 2014

Council LetterOn January 27, AHA President Jan Goldstein and Executive Director James Grossman submitted a letter, reproduced here, to David Ernesto Morales Cruz, procurador para la defense de los derechos humanos (attorney for the defense of human rights) for the government of El Salvador.

The letter concerns a November 14, 2013, break-in at the offices of the Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niňas y Niňos Desaparecidos (Association for Searching for Missing Children), in which computers were stolen and archival materials burned. The association was founded in 1994 as a nongovernmental organization devoted to locating children who disappeared during the 1980–1992 civil war in El Salvador. The organization collected records on 1,200 missing children; 80 percent of its archives were destroyed in the break-in. There has been speculation that the incident was connected to an upcoming case before the Supreme Court of Justice of El Salvador challenging the constitutionality of the country’s general amnesty law, which prevents prosecutions for human rights violations committed during the civil war.

On November 17, Morales Cruz issued a statement condemning the act and calling on authorities to protect organizations promoting human rights ( The AHA’s letter commends him for his public stance and asks the government of El Salvador to investigate the incident and make every effort to prevent further destruction of archival materials.

Debbie Ann Doyle is the AHA's coordinator, committees and meetings. She staffs the Research Division.

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