File is not found

University Alliance to inform youth and prevent disappearances

San Salvador, December 8, 2021. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) announced the alliance established with universities of El Salvador, aimed at guiding students and teachers on how to use immediate search tools and request the activation of the Urgent Action Protocol (PAU) for cases of disappearance of persons.

The "University Alliance-UNODC: informed youth to prevent disappearances" is integrated by 14 institutions: Francisco Gavidia University (UFG), University of El Salvador (UES), Evangelica University (UEES), José Simeón Cañas University (UCA), Dr. José Matías Delgado University (UDJMD), Technological University (UTEC), Oriente University (UNIVO), Gerardo Barrios University (UGB), Catholic University of El Salvador (UNICAES), University of Sonsonate (USO), Modular Abierta University (UMA), Pedagogical University, Dr. Andrés Bello University and the Salvadoran Alberto Masferrer University (USAM).

“The objective is to disseminate procedures for prevention and immediate action. For us it is important to inform society in general, to be aware of the legal tools, mechanisms, and institutions to turn to in cases of disappearances” indicated Alvina Mangandi, Officer in charge of UNODC in El Salvador.

"Today we present the 'Stop disappearances' campaign in alliance with 14 universities to provide guidance, preventive and human rights messages, regarding the problem of disappearance of persons," said Karolina Guay, Canadian ambassador to El Salvador, at the opening of the event.

Higher education institutions have come together to adopt the information campaign in favor of victims of forced disappearances, and will disseminate the information and messages on campus, through their social networks and official channels. The campaign brings the following guidance messages to university students and teachers:

  • The earch is immediate.
  • The search does not discriminate.
  • The search does not stop.

The campaign has the financial support of the Government of Canada, through the project “Strengthening the implementation of management tools for cases of disappearances and torture related to organized crime, that affects women, men and youth in El Salvador”, implemented by UNODC.

Universities participate in forum

During the event, a forum was held to exchange opinions on the role of universities regarding forced disappearances, future actions to disseminate the campaign and social outreach. The panel was integrated by: Vida Gómez Asturias, Coordinator of the UNODC Project; Evelyn Farfán Mata, Dean of the Faculty of Jurisprudence and Social Sciences of the University of El Salvador; Silvia Jiménez, Coordinator of the Center for Legal Practice of the Francisco Gavidia University; Mirella Hernández, Director of Social Projection of the Pedagogical University; Roberto Morán, representative of the Association of Private Universities of El Salvador (AUPRIDES); and Marisol Ariza, International Expert on Human Rights.

“The main objective is to share with the academic community the steps to follow in cases of disappearances and to launch an alliance to inform students about the problem with a gender and human rights perspective. Universities have an essential role in the construction of knowledge; therefore, this initiative is a joint effort to make this information and tools available to youth”, highlighted Vida Gómez Asturias, Project Coordinator of UNODC in El Salvador.

“The participation of all universities is important, since one of the most impacted groups is young people. Being able to disseminate this campaign that determines how to act in the event of a disappearance becomes strategic”, indicated Ms. Evelyn Farfán Mata.

Mr. Roberto Morán considered that it is important to guide young people, since they are the most vulnerable population in the matter of disappearances. "Through this mechanism we can promote the prevention of these disappearances," he said.

Ms. Marisol Ariza reiterated that the Urgent Action Protocol (PAU) is a tool that activates search actions immediately and thereby prevents more crimes from being committed.

Edith López, university student who attended the forum, said that the information disseminated in this forum is important as a student because the culture of disinformation affects society. “I think it's very good that they inform us and tell us about the different myths, because many of us have fallen into these situations, for example, waiting to report because it is something that we are informed in movies or on social media, when here (in the forum) we have realized that it is not like that”, he concluded.
Citlali Gómez, university student, also considered the tools and information provided at the event to be useful: “As women we are exposed to greater risk. Forums like this one helps us to be aware and to know the protocol that we must follow" she said.