Human rights center sponsors conference
Special to The Observer
Notre Dame's Center for Civil and Human Rights is a principal sponsor of an international conference today through Wednesday in Santiago, Chile.
The conference, entitled "Truth Commissions and New Challenges in the Promotion of Human Rights," marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of Chile's Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. Other conference sponsors include the Corporation for Democracy and Justice, Chile's foreign ministry office, the British government and the United Nations Development Program.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in April 1990 by President Patricio Aylwin shortly after his inauguration as Chile's first democratically elected president following 17 years of General Augusto Pinochet's U.S.-sponsored military dictatorship. Notre Dame's Center for Civil and Human Rights sponsored an English translation of the report by Phillip E. Berryman, a Latin American specialist, and the University of Notre Dame Press published the English version in 1993.
The translation included an introduction by José Zalaquette, one of the commission members, who will join Juan Mendez, director of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and former Chilean presidents Aylwin, Felipe González and Raúl Alfonsín as speakers at the conference.
The lawyers, scholars, journalists and human rights activists meeting in Santiago will discuss the work of more than 20 similar commissions which have been established in other troubled nations worldwide, including Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, and South Africa. They also will examine specific effects of such commissions on human rights and democracy in their respective countries, new developments in international human rights law, and proposals for new strategies to educate people on human rights in light of commission findings.
The conference participants will include Ronalth Ochaeta, Guatemalan ambassador to the Organization of American States, who received a master of law's degree from Notre Dame in 1994 and, while serving as director of the Office of Human Rights for the Archdiocese of Guatemala, wrote a report on the atrocities committed during Guatemala's bitter civil war.
All News Stories for Monday, April 9, 2001