Human Rights_iStock_Rawpixel

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

(written by Rev. Brian Rude, Canadian pastor serving in El Salvador since the 1980s, shared here with permission)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights   

10 December 2018
Matthew 22:36-40 (NRSV)

36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

As the world celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights today — click here — in El Salvador, we commemorate the most horrific massacre in contemporary Latin American history, 37 years ago. Almost 1,000 cilvilians, mostly women and children and seniors, were slaughtered in mid-December, 1981 in El Mozote, as well as hundreds more in the vicinity, in rural eastern El Salvador.
The El Mozote massacre was denied by the Reagan and Bush administrations–“fake news”. In fact, far from being fake, or even foreign, news, it was conducted by military trained at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia, and was funded by USAn tax dollars. More than a decade later, the “fake news” was proven to be reality by Argentinian forensic scientists and the UN. It was documented in a comprehensive book by Mark Danner soon after the forensic findings were revealed by the UN.
Almost four decades–two generations–of impunity is just beginning to be challenged, and hopefully overturned, a long-overdue process documented by Tim Muth: .
While this massacre stands out for being so massive, it is not isolated. It shares Advent, the season of hope for Jesus-followers, with the assassination of the four US church women in El Salvador, 2 December, 1980. It shares Advent with the slaughter of fourteen female engineering students at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Québec, Canada.
In El Salvador, and globally, we still long for the comprehensive implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While 70 years may have brought some recognition, even some implementation and advancement, in the realm of human rights, there remains such a monumental challenge ahead of us, as anyone following the daily news is too well aware.
May we forge ever onward in this struggle for full respect for all human rights for the entire human family and for all of creation!
Paz con justicia,

Rev. Brian Rude, DD
“In Mission with El Salvador” / “En Misión con El Salvador”
Synod of Alberta and the Territories, ELCICanada