Assassinated, posthumously awarded
Marianella García Villas was born on August 7, 1948 in San Salvador, El Salvador. After studying law and philosophy in college, she worked as a lawyer and president of a human rights organization until she was assassinated. The CDHES or Fundación Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador operates out of El Salvador and was founded on April 1, 1978. Marianella Garcia Villas was the first president of the CDHES. In this position she began her courageous and fearless battle against human rights violations in her country. Simultaneously she was the representative of the Pax- Christi Organization in El Salvador. At the time of her death she was busy with the analysis of an investigation into the use of Napalm and other chemical weapons by the governments troops. She was planning on presenting her findings to the UN- Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
She was honored with the Bruno Kreisky Prize posthumously for her commitment to human rights. The prize money was given to the Human Rights Commission in El Salvador.
In memory of the work of Marianella Garcia Villas, the CDHES opened a center called the CDMH Marianella Garcia Villas or Centro de Documentación de la Memoria Histórica Marianella Garcia Villas. The CDMH is a human rights research center. Sociologists, anthropologists, archeologists, historians, journalists, scientists as well as human right specialists consult this resource for research, and reconstruction of El Salvadors history. Their goal is to increase public awareness about human rights violations, and thereby strength human rights in El Salvador.