On October 12, 2023, Tutela Legal María Julia Hernández received the 2023 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award. This prestigious award honors those advancing the cause of human rights in the Americas.
Tutela Legal María Julia Hernández is a leading group of lawyers in El Salvador who are committed to defending thousands of innocent people who have been detained under the Salvadoran State of Emergency and victims of human rights violations during that country’s civil war.
Their courage has made a profound impact on countless lives, and this award is a well-deserved recognition of their invaluable work.
Tutela Legal MJH is a member of Pax Christi International and a valued partner of our programme “Between Violence and Hope”, which aims at empowering local communities in Latin America to stand up for their rights in response to extractive activities.
María Julia Hernández was a leading human rights advocate for the victims of the civil war, the founding director of Tutela Legal, and a close collaborator of Mons. Romero. In 1977, Archbishop Oscar Romero established the human rights office within the Archdiocese of San Salvador amidst his country’s turbulent civil war. This initiative later evolved into Tutela Legal Maria Julia Hernandez.
Since its establishment, Tutela Legal MJH has conducted investigations into numerous instances of political violence, mass killings, and assassinations, including that of Saint Romero. Following María Julia’s passing in 2007, her name was incorporated into the organization’s own.
Tutela Legal continues the legacy of everything that Mons. Romero tirelessly advocated for. It’s especially meaningful that this recognition coincided with the 5th anniversary of the Canonization of Saint Romero (October 14, 2018).
On October 18, Tutela Legal MJH will celebrate their anniversary. You can be part of their live broadcast “More than 40 Years Defending Human Rights!” on Facebook.
In 1976, the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) introduced the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards as a tribute to Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt, who were tragically assassinated by the Pinochet regime for their work to defend democracy and human rights in Chile. Every year, IPS awards one group from the United States and one from Latin America and the Caribbean.
Bottom left: Marie Dennis with Tutela Legal’s Ovidio Mauricio and Alejandro Diaz
Bottom right: Jean Stokan (Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace and Sisters of Mercy), Roxana Bendezu (PC USA), Vidalina Morales, Alejandro Diaz, Ovidio Mauricio (Tutela Legal MJH), Judy Coode (PCUSA)
All photos from the October 12, 2023 event are courtesy of Pax Christi USA.