El Salvador: Inter-American Commission hears case of disappeared children

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and El Salvadorean agency for disappeared children, Pro-Búsqueda, sought a hearing before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), at its 125 Special Session which is being held in Guatemala, to accuse El Salvador of continuing to violate the human rights of sisters Ana Julia and Carmelina Mejía Ramírez, who disappeared 25 years ago.

The girls, 15 and 17 respectively, were kidnapped during the Mozote massacre, carried out on 13 December 1981, by soldiers belonging to the Atlacatl Battalion during an operation known as “Operation Rescue,” in the north of the department of Morazán. Since then, their whereabouts has remained unknown.

During the hearing, which was held yesterday, the petitioning organisations asked the IACHR to pass the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights because the State of El Salvador is not only responsible for the disappearance of the girls, but it has also refused to investigate the case and sanction those responsible. In spite of this, the State denied responsibility for the girls’ disappearance, as well as the existence of a leader of forced disappearances of children during the armed conflict.

CEJIL and Pro Búsqueda argued that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned the State of El Salvador in March 2005, for failing to give a satisfactory response to the disappearances of two other disappeared children, Ernestina and Erlinda Serrano Cruz.  

The organisations pointed out to the Inter-American Commission that whilst the State of El Salvador continues in its denial, it will not take concrete action to investigate the whereabouts of hundreds of disappeared children, including the Mejía sisters, nor will the rights of the families concerned be fulfilled, therefore, the case must be referred to the Inter-American Court.


Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.