On April 18, 2013, dozens of Uruguayan activists, politicians, and civil society members gathered at the Centro Cultural de España in Montevideo for the premiere of the campaign videos for Nunca Más Qué, (Never Again, What?). This campaign aims to mobilize support in Uruguay and abroad to ensure that the leaders in the country know that impunity violates the state’s responsibility to ensure the human rights of its citizens.
The New Media Advocacy Project (N-Map), along with its partner the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), launched this innovative effort to push the frontiers of current work that seeks to implement regional courts’ decisions, in this instance, the Gelman case in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. N-Map and CEJIL produced two short videos, Nunca Más Qué, a shorter film seeking to engage all Uruguayans about the relevance and important of justice in their nation today, and Romper el Muro de la Impunidad, which includes interviews with victims, experts, academics, and leading politicians to target the judiciary and encourage them to overturn the amnesty law. Together, these videos privilege the voices of Uruguayan citizens whose lives are affected daily by the official silence surrounding this dark period in the nation’s history and aims to spur the implementation of human rights guarantees.
Just days before the launch, the Inter-American Court highlighted the importance of these efforts when it reaffirmed the Gelman ruling, stating that the Uruguayan state still had an outstanding obligation to investigate, prosecute, and if necessary, punish those responsible for serious human rights violations committed during the nation’s military rule from 1973-1985.
In March 2012, N-Map traveled to Uruguay to film Uruguay’s president José Mujica’s acknowledgment of state complicity in the crimes perpetrated during Uruguay’s dictatorship. This momentous event was an important step towards shedding a culture of impunity that has enveloped the nation for the past 30 years. N-Map and CEJIL recognized this critical turning point and began an extended campaign to catalyze true change within the state and to seek accountability for human rights violations during this period. One year later, we ask, “What has been done? Nunca más, que?”
At the April 18 premiere of Nunca Más Qué, Uruguayans gathered to discuss exactly that. A panel was comprised of representatives of victim groups, experts, members of government, and representatives from CEJIL who litigated the Gelman case. Speakers included Adriana Cabrera from HIJOS, Representative Felipe Michelini, former director of CEJIL Ariela Peralta, CEJIL attorney Liliana Tojo, and Elena Zaffaroni of Madres y Familiares de Detenidos y Desparecidos. This group offered a range of perspectives on why accountability remains a critical issue in the country. While Las Madres y Familiares continues to be one of the most active groups in Uruguay seeking justice and truth for their loved ones who suffered under the military regime, HIJOS is a newer organization comprised of the children of disappeared, exiled, and political prisoners who work against silence in society and embrace the spirit of their parents’ struggle. Both these groups are featured in the videos, along with other human rights advocates, who ask the Uruguayan state for accountability.
Combined with the screening of the campaign’s videos, the event probed questions about Uruguay’s recent past, the implications for the current societal fabric, and the future of truth and justice in the nation. Representative Michelini encapsulated the sentiment of the panel when he stated that the event, and the Nunca Más Qué campaign, represented a larger allegiance to fighting to reverse the culture of impunity in Uruguay and uphold a commitment to the victims who must not be forgotten.
The campaign is now in the hands of Uruguayans, with our support and yours.
In Montevideo but couldn’t attend the launch?
Outside of Uruguay but want to participate?
Here is what you can do to get involved in making impunity part of Uruguay’s past, and not its future:
- Follow #nuncamasque on twitter and participate in the debate
- Like Nunca Más Qué on Facebook and get involved in the online community http://www.facebook.com/nuncamasque
- Send the video to your friends and family (link in)
- Host a screening of the videos and hold a discussion about truth and justice in Uruguay (for instructions on how to do this, contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Send your comments and ideas to email@example.com
- Stay tuned for future screenings and events
For our Spanish speaking friends:
- See the joint CEJIL/N-Map press release
- Listen to CEJIL’s Program Director for Bolivia and the Southern Cone, Liliana Tojo’s interview on Radio Uruguay