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Rights Advocates Question "Suspicious" Shutdown of El Salvador’s Tutela Legal

ISSN:1089-1560
LADB Article ID: 79121
Category/Department: El Salvador
Date: 2013-10-24
By: Benjamin Witte-Lebhar

The Salvadoran Catholic Church has shuttered one of the country’s key human rights institutions, the Tutela Legal del Arzobispado, a legal aid office that operated for more than 35 years and collected a huge cache of documents regarding rights violations committed before, during, and after the country’s 1980-1992 civil war. The closure went into effect on Sept. 30, much to the chagrin of Tutela Legal’s approximately dozen employees, who say they were blindsided by the decision. Tutela Legal—known originally as Socorro Jurídico—was founded in 1977 by Archbishop Óscar Romero. The man who currently heads the archdiocese, Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas, offered little in the way of explanation for the shutdown other than to say, via a written statement, that the institution’s work was "no longer relevant."

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