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Promoting Human Rights and Healing in the Wake of Civil War

Task Force 2015

Promoting Human Rights and Healing Task Force 2015


Francisco Altschul

Salvadoran Ambassador to the US

Faculty Adviser

Angelina Godoy

Angelina Godoy


Task Force

  • Eun Seon (Jessica) Kim
  • Kasumi Maeda
  • Shanna Larson
  • Simon Fox
  • Emma Mahboub
  • Jason Solis
  • Jasper Trujillo-Lindstrom
  • Nicole Einbinder
  • Sarah Foster
  • Vincent Lee

Background:  Between 1980 and 1992, El Salvador experienced a civil war between the US-sponsored right-wing government and leftist guerrilla forces. The war was characterized by systematic violence against civilians by state forces, including the use of massacres and the forced disappearance of children. Our research focuses on the massacres of Las Canoas (1980) and La Quesera (1981); we aim to educate about El Salvador’s past atrocities and present efforts for restoration and justice.

Project: In partnership with a Salvadoran human rights organization, Asociación Pro-Búsqueda, our team researched two massacres and traveled to El Salvador to collect survivors’ testimonies. In addition to producing a research report, we have created two short films to circulate on social media in an effort to help locate the truth about disappeared children.

Policy Recommendations:

To promote human rights and healing, the US government should:

  • Support Salvadorans’ struggle for family reunification by collaborating with representatives of Asociación Pro-Búsqueda, the University of Washington, the University of California, and the Salvadoran government to explore responsible ways to share US records about the adoption of Salvadoran minors.

The Salvadoran government should:

  • Participate in the aforementioned working group to create ways to share information about adoption records
  • Provide human rights researchers access to military files that contain clues about disappeared children
  • Ensure its consular officials in the US and other nations circulate the videos to ensure distribution in the Salvadoran diaspora community.
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