Sunday, 1 March 2009

Peru Ombudswoman on Museum

First off, I want to say that if you speak Spanish and are interested in human rights in Peru, you really need to add the Blog de la Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos to your reading list. In fact, it should probably be at the top. All of today's posts (which will be several, time permitting) came to my attention from this really excellent resource.

The Defensoria del Pueblo has issued a statement on the German donation issue. It can be read here, and my translation follows:

The idea of belonging to a community of men and women who are truly free and equal causes us to grieve when one dies. This feeling forces us to remember them and not ever to forget. Remembering must always be an act of reflection and wisdom, an act which - when we are free of hate, racism and intolerance - allows us to project ourselves into the future with firmness and hope that there is better to come.

The unity of nations is founded in equality, freedom and justice, not in intolerance, hate and injustice. From this basic, inalienable promise, the pressing necessity of truth arises, and that peoples need to get to know each other through this truth.

The international tendency to build Museums of Memory derives from this tendency, as well as the recognition of these as spaces of reflection against forgetting, by means of the awarding of Prizes such as that which the Prince of Asturias gave to the Museum of the Memory of the Holocaust in Jerusalem, in Israel, at the proposal of the German Chancellor.

Without doubt, the images of the Photographic Exhibition 'Yuyanapaq' constitute a dramatic and moving testimony, intended to make us aware of its objective: the victims have the right to memory by society and the State. The memory which is recorded there - in impressive images - belongs to the women and men of Peru, so that, in seeing [the images], they feel for those mothers and sisters, those fathers and son, who lost everything in that storm, and so that they can be surrounded by solidarity and so can we, as Peruvians.

Because of this, I want to exhort the Executive to reconsider its decision and accept the donation from the generous German people.

Beatriz Merino, Defensora del Pueblo

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