Inauguration of the Humanitarian Foundation offices in El Salvador
June 26, 2013
El Salvador, like its neighbouring countries of Central America’s ‘Northern Triangle,’ suffers from one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Drug trafficking and criminal gangs are usually considered the main culprits of this preoccupying state of affairs and the heavy-handed policies that were implemented in response have had short-lived success at best. Violence is generalized in Salvadoran society as a means of dealing with conflict and therefore, a more comprehensive, preventive strategy is required to tackle the high levels of violence in the country in a lasting manner. The Humanitarian Foundation (Fundación Humanitaria) was recently established to involve all relevant stakeholders in the process of reducing violence, and its offices were officially inaugurated in May.
The first of its kind
The Humanitarian Foundation is the first institution promoting a culture of peace in El Salvador. With the support of Interpeace and the European Union, the Humanitarian Foundation implements projects that aim to reduce the levels of violence and contribute to the establishment and strengthening of a culture of peace in El Salvador. “This is a very important event for the country,” said Antonio Cabrales, President of the Humanitarian Foundation. “It is the first institution to be established with the primary purpose of promoting a culture of peace in our country.” The Foundation also forms a national platform for the coordination of international assistance to support prevention, integration and rehabilitation of vulnerable youth.
Promoting a culture of peace
The Humanitarian Foundation’s work includes creating dialogue spaces such as workshops and seminars to enable key stakeholders from different sectors of society to contribute to the violence prevention process. In addition, the Foundation promotes private sector involvement in social rehabilitation and economic reinsertion efforts for vulnerable youth and youth in conflict with the law. Finally, through the creation of a network of community facilitators, the Foundation is also strengthening the process of reducing violence at the local level.
Though recent numbers show a significant reduction in serious crimes, such as murder, the need to further strengthen the prevention of violence through the creation of spaces for social dialogue and peace is not to be underestimated in view of producing lasting results. “Interpeace supports the Humanitarian Foundation’s efforts not only because they are an important addition to the violence reduction process in the country, but also because Interpeace will learn much in working side by side with this important institution,” explains Jerry McCann, Deputy Director-General, Operations, at Interpeace.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by a number of prominent Salvadoran political and religious figures as well as the Director of Interpeace’s partner organization Servicio Social Pasionista and the head of the European Union mission in El Salvador.