Genocide survivors and family member of victims call on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council to remove Elliot Abrams from its Committee on Conscience.
A group family member victims of the 1940s WWII Holocaust and U.S.-supported 1980s genocides in Central America are calling on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council’s Committee on Conscience to remove Elliot Abrams from its board, questioning how “a proven supporter of the some of the world’s most nefarious perpetrators of genocide and mass murderers for nearly 40 years—could be a member of your committee (whose) … core mission (is to) prevent genocide.”
The group of 12, which includes a Salvadoran “tortured by police under orders of two generals trained by the US military at the School of the Americas (and) a survivor of torture under Rios Montt dictatorship,” are circulating an online petition to gather support for their demand on the anti-genocide committee to take away Abrams' seat at the table.
“We have come together in the name of advancing values like those contained in the Council’s core mission of preventing genocide. Our letter to you is written in the spirit of continuing the urgent work of the Committee on Conscience: to ‘confront and work to halt acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity.’
"It is in this spirit we write to question the choice of the Council in granting a committee seat to Mr. Elliott Abrams,” say the survivors of genocides orchestrated and oversaught by Abrams in the 1980s when he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs and Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs under the Ronald Reagan administrations.
Abrams was recently named by United States President Donald Trump to the nation’s Special Envoy to Venezuela. The high-ranking U.S. official, who supported genocides in El Salvador in Guatemala in the 1980s has claimed that the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador that wiped out 900 poor civilians in less than two days in 1981 couldn’t be confirmed. The former human rights official backed Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt’s massacre of over 1,700 Indigenous.
The small group that has growing support says that after investigating Abrams’ history they realized he is “in fact a member of the Council’s Committee on Conscience,” given a seat on the prestigious committee in 2009.
“We write because, given the crucial mission of this institution, we cannot fathom how Abrams—a proven supporter of the some of the world’s most nefarious perpetrators of genocide and mass murderers for nearly 40 years—could be a member of your committee,” says the survivors who are calling on the larger public to join their request to the council.
The naming of Abrams to the U.S. envoy by Trump has caused an uproar in Congress and human rights circles who know Abrams was also a principal author in the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s that funded the violent Contras, a Nicaraguan para-military group.