March 24th is the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims. In 2010, the UN General Assembly proclaimed this day to be commemorated, and so it will be at AOAV. The purpose of the day is to honour the memory of victims of gross and systematic human rights violations and to promote the importance of the right to truth and justice; and to pay tribute to those who have devoted their lives to, and lost their lives in, the struggle to promote and protect human rights for all.
It is also meant to recognize, in particular, the important work and values of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, of El Salvador. Romero was assassinated on this day in 1980, shortly after denouncing the extreme violations of the human rights of the most vulnerable of El Salvador’s populations and defending the principles of protecting lives, promoting human dignity and opposition to all forms of violence.
AOAV works with victims and survivors of armed violence to ensure their rights are recognized and that they receive the assistance needed to recover and return to their rightful place in society. We believe that the right to truth is one of the fundamental rights of victims. As UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said: “The right to the truth is both an individual and a collective right. Each victim has the right to know the truth about violations against them, but the truth also has to be told more widely as a safeguard to prevent violations from happening again.”
Respect for dignity, one of the principles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, is an essential element of recognition of the human rights of all victims of armed violence. AOAV works to build the momentum and campaigns for global recognition of human rights of all victims of armed violence in an international legally binding instrument.
Giving legal force to the recognition of the plight of victims as a violation of human rights means concrete measures and efforts should be put in place to alleviate their suffering after their victimization. States need to do more than recognize this international day and in so doing they should extend human rights protections to all victims of armed violence as they work toward recovery and inclusion in society.
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