INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE RIGHT TO THE TRUTH CONCERNING HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND FOR THE DIGNITY OF VICTIMS
Every year on March 24th, the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims pays tribute to the memory of Monsignor Óscar Arnulfo Romero. Monsignor Romero was an Archbishop who was actively engaged in denouncing the violation of human rights in El Salvador. His murders were never brought to justice. On February 3rd, 2015, Pope Francis declared Romero a martyr. On October 14th, Pope Francis canonized Romero as a Saint.
The observance also seeks to pay tribute to the many others who have devoted and lost their lives for protecting human rights for all.
Governments must uphold the right to truth. When citizens of a country cannot access records that inform them of the truth, it is considered an abuse of power. At one time, citizens in some countries felt powerless when it came to accessing the truth. However, citizens in many countries are taking action to uncover the truth. These countries include:
- Lebanon, where citizens are searching for those who have disappeared.
- Indonesia, where citizens are documenting mass crimes.
- Kenya, where citizens are developing a truth commission.
- Bosnia-Herzegovina, where citizens are utilizing their courts of law.
These citizens are engaged in resistance against silence and fear. They are making way for truth-seeking to expand and evolve. Unfortunately, many who take this stand will lose their lives in the fight for the truth. It’s for these people that this day exists.
HOW TO OBSERVE THE #InternationalDayForTheRightToTheTruth
To observe this day, think about what it would be like to live in a country where the leaders try to keep the truth from its citizens. Learn more about Monsignor Óscar Arnulfo Romero. Read about other human rights defenders such as:
- Chief Joseph
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
- Oskar Schindler
- Rosa Parks
- Nelson Mandela
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
To spread awareness for this day, use #InternationalDayForTheRightToTheTruth on social media.
INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE RIGHT TO THE TRUTH CONCERNING HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND FOR THE DIGNITY OF VICTIMS HISTORY
On December 21, 2010, the UN General Assembly proclaimed March 24th as the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims. It was on March 24th, 1980, that Monsignor Romero was assassinated. The day was first observed on March 24th, 2011.