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Raising awareness on human rights among the general public

In El Salvador, the Instituto de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Centroamericana created an information centre where victims of human rights abuses can be informed of their rights.  This Institute also organized days of sensitization about human rights from September 1998 to 20 January 1999.

Comments: the Institute stresses the need to be supported in its activities; its members need to be well informed about the United Nations human rights machinery, especially as far as children's rights are concerned; it could be provided with human rights materials from OHCHR.

Phase 2

1. The Organización Defensa de los Niños Internacional produced a collection of audiocassettes containing ten fairy tales addressing ten children's rights. Children wrote the texts under the supervision of the NGO. The materials were distributed in schools and promoted on radio stations through the communication network working on children's issues.

Allocated grant: US$ 3,000

2. The Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho conducted a variety of activities in the framework of the project “De Joven a Joven: Promoción Municipal de Derechos Humanos desde y para la Juventud”. Training materials were designed, produced and distributed during seven training sessions. The training sessions involved 38 young people (18 females and 20 males aged 13 to 24) and were aimed at informing and educating the participants about basic human rights issues. Six human rights youth centres were then established in six different towns (one in the capital, the other five in remote areas). The purpose of the centres is to: promote human rights at the local level, to provide duplicate training with other young persons, to monitor the human rights situation at the local level, to document and report each month on human rights abuses that occurred in the region, and to give legal advice. All of these mandates have to be conducted in liaison with the local authorities, who welcomed the initiative.

Allocated grant: US$ 3,000

3. The Fundación Olof Palme organized several theatre performances involving children of two plays on children's rights, especially those of working children, focusing on the rights of the girl child. The performances were attended by about 500 people, including 300 children, in 8 schools throughout the country. The shows were followed by round-table discussions at which both children and adults discussed the issues raised in the plays. The NGO reports that two theatre groups have been set up and are planning to write and perform another play.

Allocated grant: US$ 2,800

4. The Asociación de Victimas de Violaciones a los Derechos Humanos de El Salvador is a country-wide NGO working on human rights advocacy and capacity-building. The project aims at consolidating the NGO’s work in publicizing human rights violations in the country and in the area of legal aid.

Allocated grant: US$ 3,000

Project cancelled

5. The Comité de Madres y Familiares Cristianos de Presos, Desaparecidos y Asesinados Padre Octavo Ortiz (COMAFAC) organized a training session for 26 women, 3 men and 18 children from a small town, focusing on the rights of children, women and the elderly as well as on human rights protection mechanisms. A key achievement is the establishment of a human rights committee in the city, which will work with the community's authorities in assessing and monitoring human rights in the region. The city has one of the highest rates of human rights abuse in the country. The area covered may seem narrow but this is a pilot initiative; if the outcome is positive, similar initiatives will be conducted in other towns.

Allocated grant: US$ 3,000