Chilean Bishops Appeal for Word on Missing Persons

Will Continue Church Role of Mediation in Post-Pinochet Years

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SANTIAGO, Chile, JAN. 15, 2001 (
The Chilean bishops´ conference has made a special appeal for information on individuals who were arrested and disappeared during the Pinochet regime.

The bishops made their plea in a statement entitled «In Sorrow and Hope.» The move follows the closing of the Table of Dialogue on Human Rights, a service of the Church in Chile to encourage reconciliation in the years following Augusto Pinochet´s departure from power in 1990.

In their statement, the Chilean bishops reject events of the past. «No matter how grave the circumstances of the country were at that time, we reject the inhuman methods used by some men in uniform, and civilians, to confront their opponents,» the statement Jan. 10 said. «Nothing gives the right to take recourse to those means, which are totally contrary to morality.»

The Chilean bishops´ conference also described as inhuman the anguish faced by families who still don´t know what happened to their loved ones. It asked those with information to step forward.

The bishops referred to «the positive attitude of the armed forces,» which «have made known blameworthy acts that occurred.» They said: «This is an honest act to be extolled; we are sure it will contribute to improve the quality of our coexistence.»

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