On August 15, 2016, United States Congressional Representatives Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and Norma Torres of California delivered a letter to President Barack Obama, signed by 26 Members of Congress, calling for the declassification of U.S. military and intelligence files relating to forced disappearances and human rights abuses during the Salvadoran civil war.
Additionally, Representatives McGovern and Torres led a group of 21 U.S. lawmakers who signed a letter to Salvadoran President Sánchez Cerén calling for a national commission to investigate and resolve cases of forced disappearance in El Salvador.
The letters follow an April 2016 briefing in Washington D.C., in which Salvadoran and Salvadoran-American family members of the disappeared told their stories in representation of the Our Parents’ Bones Campaign. Angelina Snodgrass Godoy, Director of the University of Washington Center for Human Rights’ Unfinished Sentences project, accompanied the delegation.
After the delegation, supporters of Our Parents Bones and Unfinished Sentences called on their local Representatives to sign the letters sponsored by McGovern and Torres. The UW CHR provided the online advocacy platform used for the campaign.
Washington State Representatives Denny Heck, Rick Larsen, and Suzan DelBene signed the letter to President Obama, while Seattle’s Jim McDermott signed both letters.