16 January 2012

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Twenty Years after Peace Agreements, El Salvador’s Democratic Transition Remains

Inspiration for People Suffering from Violent Conflict around World


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the peace agreements in El Salvador, delivered today by Anders Kompass, Director, Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in San Salvador:

I am delighted to convey my congratulations to the people of El Salvador as we mark the twentieth anniversary of the historic Peace Agreements.

This is, first and foremost, a day to celebrate the spirit and determination of the people of El Salvador.  At a time when many could have lost hope, your society got actively involved in a courageous process to end the armed conflict.  In doing so, you irreversibly turned a painful page in the country’s history. 

This day offers an opportunity to reflect on the lessons we have learned, for democratic life in El Salvador and for the United Nations work on peace and security.  The United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL) was unprecedented, as the Security Council requested that it adopt an integrated approach to peace consolidation.  It was the first time in the history of the United Nations that a peace operation received such a robust monitoring mandate, particularly on human rights.

For El Salvador, ONUSAL’s innovative mandate helped the parties to the conflict make progress in the critical area of institution-building, including the transformation of key state institutions, particularly the army, the police and human rights protection mechanisms.

For the United Nations, the ONUSAL model was key in helping our organization move away from traditional peacekeeping — which focused on monitoring cease-fires — and toward an integrated, multidimensional approach.

As we acknowledge the success of the peace process in El Salvador, we cannot forget that peace consolidation is a long process that requires addressing the root causes of the conflict.  Tangible peace dividends must materialize in citizens’ daily lives.  Addressing socio-economic inequalities and advancing the reform of rule of law institutions in the face of citizen insecurity are among key challenges yet to be addressed at the national and regional level.

Twenty years after the signing of the Peace Agreements, El Salvador’s democratic transition remains an example and an inspiration for other peoples suffering from violent conflict around the world.  I am confident that El Salvador can now make further progress in addressing the above-mentioned challenges, thus becoming also an example in the consolidation of peace.

Through this agenda, the United Nations will continue to work with you to fully realize the country’s aspirations for peace and prosperity.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record