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UNODC launches "Urgent Action Protocol and Search Strategy for Disappeared Persons in El Salvador"


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime launched the "Urgent Action Protocol and Search Strategy for Disappeared Persons in El Salvador", under the framework of the Project "Institutional strengthening in cases of disappearances related to organized crime to reduce impunity in El Salvador ", with the financial support of the Government of Canada.

Acknowledging the importance of the institutions commitment towards the search of  missing persons, the launch was attended by Mr. Douglas Arquímides Meléndez Ruiz; Attorney General of the Republic of El Salvador; Doris Luz Rivas Galindo; President of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Board of Directors of the Institute of Legal Medicine; Mr. Raúl López, Vice Minister of Justice and Public Security; Mrs. Maryse Guilbeault, Ambassador of Canada and Mrs. Mónica María Mendoza Betancourt, Head of the UNODC Office in El Salvador;

This instrument is the first inter-institutional protocol for cases of disappeared persons in                          El Salvador, which provides a comprehensive response to the phenomenon within the framework of organized crime. It will allow a unified treatment of disappearance reports, the establishment of a prioritization system based on the protection of rights, the timely and coordinated response of state institutions, and the identification of criminal patterns and trends.

The Protocol guarantees the right of victims to access to justice, through the early and urgent search of disappeared persons without justifications or delays. In this regard, a campaign for "Urgent Action" was also launched, which enhances the immediate reception of reports and highlights the national institutions commitment to act in these cases. Other institutions that are in favour of the Urgent Action mechanism can be integrated into this campaign.

The launch was made within the framework of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with the aim of promoting respect for human rights, in particular of the victims and their families who suffer from grave crimes committed by organized crime.