Nora Liliana Franco

Ashoka Fellow
El Salvador
Fellow Since 1999
Related TopicsHuman Rights & Equality


This profile was prepared when Nora Liliana Franco was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
Exiled from Argentina and now living in El Salvador, Nora has experienced first-hand the consequences of government-sanctioned impunity. She believes that amnesty laws that perpetuate impunity of human rights violators contribute to a culture characterized by a disregard for human rights, a distrust of government institutions and justice systems, and fear. Rather than allowing societies to “forget” and overcome their violent pasts, these laws and similar measures to erase the past impede any transition to truly participatory and open democracy.

To fight against impunity in El Salvador and throughout Latin America, Nora has created an international strategy to confront and demand change in amnesty policies through the use of personal testimonies. Nora is pulling together the testimonies of women effected by the systematic violation of human rights which has plagued Latin America in recent history. Through an extensive network of women’s and human rights organizations across the continent, Nora is assembling testimonies to construct an anthology of historic memory that represents the experiences of women from various nations, classes, and races whose voices have been excluded from public policy.

Nora is not merely publishing a book. Her plan is to use the process of building the anthology as the starting and focal point for a larger strategy to mobilize women and men to demand changes to impunity policies in their countries. The testimonies serve as a link between an international network of women’s and human rights organizations. With this network, Nora will coordinate national demonstrations and promote the construction of monuments to preserve national memories and which resonate with the theme “forgive but not forget”. The anthology is also an educational tool that Nora will introduce into academic circles, student curriculum, law schools and international bodies to create awareness about the dangers of impunity. Finally, the testimonies will become a lobbying tool for national organizations to present to governments with their demands to overhaul the laws and policies that perpetuate impunity. Through this process, Nora is cultivating a culture of human rights based on memory and driven by citizens who themselves will prevent a repetition of the past.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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