Monday, September 7, 2009

Opening Up Umbrellas All Over the World--Keep those photos coming!!!

On August 28th, Peruvians opened up their umbrellas in a symbolic act to raise awareness about the unresolved issue of the disappeared in the country. At the same time, friends and allies all over the world responded to the call to send in photos of themselves opening up their umbrellas in solidarity with the families of the 15,000 disappeared in Peru. We've posted those photos to the Open Up Your Umbrella! group on and are happy to share them with you in the above slideshow.

So far, we've received photos from hundreds of people in a dozen countries, including Canada, the United States, Italy, England, Greece, Sweden, France, Mexico, Ecuador, Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina, and all parts of Peru. If you haven't sent yours in yet, don't worry because the campaign continues. Simply open up an umbrella, take a picture, and post it to our Flickr group or send it to us directly at

Thanks so much to all those that have participated! Continue to pass the word to your friends and family. We hope to reach 15,000, so keep those photos coming!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hundreds of Peruvians Open Umbrellas for the Families of the Disappeared

On Friday, August 28th, hundreds of Peruvians gathered in Lima's historic Plaza San Martín to open their umbrellas for the relatives of the country's disappeared and call attention to the need for an institutional framework that promotes and protects their right to know the truth about the fate of their loved ones.

At 1:15 pm, participants started to arrive in the Plaza San Martín and take their places, forming concentric circles in front of the Hotel Bolivar. Minutes later, José Pablo Baraybar, the Executive Director of the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team, thanked the crowd for their participation and emphasized the need to support the families of the disappeared in their efforts to identify and recover the remains of their loved ones. This support is of special importance, he stressed, given that only 769 remains have been exhumed since the end of the armed conflict, of which only 238 have been identified (representing a meager 1.5% of the 15,000 disappeared in Peru).

Immediately thereafter, the assembled crowd opened their umbrellas one by one in a solemn gesture of protection for the families of the disappeared. Once the final umbrella opened, the participants broke the circle formations and joined together in a symbolic act of union and solidarity. The entire activity took place during 10 minutes of complete silence.

Here, we share with you some of the images from Friday's Flash Mob, and we offer our thanks to all that participated in this inaugural event of the Open Up Your Umbrella! campaign.

For more photos from the Open Up Your Umbrella! Flash Mob, click here.

Photos: 1,2,3,5 - Franco Mora; 4 - José Orihuela

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Open Up Your Umbrella! - For the Families of the Disappeared in Peru

In Peru, thousands of families lost their loved ones as a result of forced disappearances during the 20-year internal armed conflict from 1980 to 2000. Today, both the state and society have a moral obligation to help the families search for the disappeared so that they can recover their remains and bury them with dignity.

On August 28th, Peruvians will gather together at 6:30 pm GMT and open umbrellas in the Plaza San Martín in Lima to draw attention to the unresolved issue of the disappeared. We invite you to take part, wherever you might be, by taking a picture of yourself with your umbrella and uploading it to the Open Up Your Umbrella! group on Flickr. (If you don't have a Flickr account, you can always send your photo to, and we'll upload it for you!)

Better yet, get a group of friends together with umbrellas and take a photo. Make it creative, artistic or just plain fun. The important thing is that you participate and pass the word on to others so that we can raise consciousness about this important issue and make the recovery of the disappeared in Peru a priority once and for all.

There are over 15,000 disappeared persons in Peru, and we hope to have a photo to represent each and everyone of them.

On August 28th at 6:30 pm GMT, open an umbrella, take a picture, and help the cause!