Peace and Human Rights

Successes and Shortcomings of the United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador (Onusal)

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After twelve long, exhausting years, the war in El Salvador has come to an end. The January 16, 1992 peace accord signed by the Salvadoran government and the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN) in Chapultepec, Mexico, lays out sweeping institutional reforms designed to enable the FMLN to demobilize its forces and participate in the political life of El Salvador. Primary among those reforms are provisions for the dissolution of existing security forces and Army rapid-reaction battalions, and the establishment of a new civilian police force open to former FMLN combatants. Two commissions have been formed to overcome impunity for human rights violations, one to examine the records of military officers with an eye toward purging those who committed or tolerated human rights abuses; the second to look into human rights cases over the last decade and make recommendations as to further prosecutions.

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