Tuesday, January 17, 2012

El Salvador: El Salvador must address socio-economic inequalities and advance rule of law reform

ONUSAL police observing a Salvadoran police officer (right) making a traffic stop, 1 February 1992. UN Photo/J Bleibtreu

UN - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called today on El Salvador to address its socio-economic inequalities and advance rule of law reform to ensure its citizens can experience positive and tangible results from the peace process that was initiated 20 years ago at the end of its civil war.

“As we acknowledge the success of the peace process in El Salvador, we cannot forget that peace consolidation is a long process that requires addressing the root causes of the conflict,” Mr. Ban said in his message marking the twentieth anniversary of the historic Peace Agreements.

“Tangible peace dividends must materialize in citizens’ daily lives. Addressing socio-economic inequalities and advancing the reform of rule of law institutions in the face of citizen insecurity are among key challenges yet to be addressed at the national and regional level.”

In his remarks, which were delivered by Anders Kompass, Director of Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Mr. Ban congratulated the country for the progress achieved so far, and said this day provided an opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned on democratic life.

“At a time when many could have lost hope, your society got actively involved in a courageous process to end the armed conflict. In doing so, you irreversibly turned a painful page in the country’s history,” he said.

Mr. Ban also stressed the important role played by the UN Observer Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL), the first peace operation to receive a robust monitoring mandate from the Security Council with a particular focus on human rights.

“For the United Nations, the ONUSAL model was key in helping our Organization move away from traditional peacekeeping – which focused on monitoring ceasefires – and toward an integrated, multi-dimensional approach.

For El Salvador, ONUSAL’s innovative mandate helped the parties to the conflict make progress in the critical area of institution building, including the transformation of key state institutions, particularly the army, the police and human rights protection mechanisms, Mr. Ban noted.

He said El Salvador’s democratic transition remains “an example and an inspiration for other peoples suffering from violent conflict around the world. I am confident that El Salvador can now make further progress in addressing the above-mentioned challenges, thus becoming also an example in the consolidation of peace.”