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The other side of the coin of the emergency regime of El Salvador in the defense of human rights

*Civil society organizations registered 6,305 complaints of human rights violations during the two years of the Exception Regime in El Salvador. 

The other side of the coin of the emergency regime in El Salvador in the defense of human rights
In the 2nd Annual Report on Human Rights Violations that occurred during the two years of emergency regime in El Salvador, held at the UCA Human Rights Institute (IDHUCA), civil society organizations registered 6,305 complaints of human rights violations, received between March 27, 2022 and March 15, 2024. Photo: P360P

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This April 4, in the 2nd Annual Report on Human Rights Violations that occurred during the two years of emergency regime in El Salvador, held at the UCA Human Rights Institute (IDHUCA), civil society organizations register 6,305 complaints of human rights violations, received between March 27, 2022 and March 15, 2024. 

These violations represent the systematization of the cases and facts addressed by the organizations:  LOVE YOURSELF (52), Original Blue (354), CRISTOSAL (3 thousand 786), FESPAD (383), the Idhuca (1,293), the Salvadoran Network of Women Defenders (50), and the SSPAS (387).

Based on the registered complaints, these civil organizations declare that the reforms to criminal law do not protect human rights, but rather legalize the improper process of innocence to prosecute people judicially. 

These reforms put people into intervention, if they are innocent there is no restoration proposed by the State. This results from a procedural implementation that does not allow recognition of individual responsibilities prior to a collective accusation, in addition to the fact that the quality and review of evidentiary processes are deficient, and judges abandon the evidence that puts people's justice on trial. 

Added to this is the reform of the Space Law against organized crime, which uses technology to prosecute a person, putting the authenticity of the information at risk. 

Among the events with the highest complaints are 5,931 cases of arbitrary or illegal detentions; 5,470 cases of violations of due process; 1,779 home invasions; 814 cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and 304 cases of harassment. 

Likewise, the internal forced displacement corresponds to the reported 598 women, most of whom were accompanied by infants and adolescents. 80 percent of women have filed complaints for being victims of human rights violations by state security agents.

Added to these facts are the records of forced disappearance, confinement, discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, sexual harassment, abuse and sexual violations.

In the complaints registered by Civil Organizations, the people most affected are young people between 19 and 30 years of age, of which there are 3,293 records, equivalent to 52.23 percent of the total complaints. These are followed by people between 31 and 59 years of age with 2,167 cases of victims, representing 34.37 percent of the total complaints. 

The Armed Forces have 440 complaints against them, which represents 7 percent of the complaints, adding the National Civil Police (PNC), with 4,701 complaints, equivalent to 75 percent of the total, which corresponds to 90 percent. of cases of human rights violations carried out by State agencies. 

According to the testimonies of victims and monitoring of the organizations, between March 27, 2022 and February 29, 2024, 244 deaths of people in State custody have been recorded during the emergency regime, as well as an approximate 109,519 adults deprived of liberty, for a capacity of 67,280 people, with a rate of 1,728 people deprived of liberty per 100,000 inhabitants. This positions El Salvador with the highest number of people in prison worldwide. 

Although the Gag Law was repealed, which prohibited a type of allusion to gangs and was seen as an advantage, we believe it is important to point out that it does not really respond to the protection of the issue of freedom of expression, but rather responds to various types of pressure that are being exerted that led to the repeal of this law. Unfortunately, these measures are not progressive, but rather regressive,” said Gabriela Santos, a member of Idhuca. 

What emerged as a measure to ?restore order? by the Legislative Assembly, at the request of the Executive Branch, after the issuance of 24 successive legislative decrees, "it is just a bubble, the disease is not being cured," declared representatives of the organizations.  

Based on the recorded figures, civil organizations called on the State to address the transition and execution framework of the Penal System. To this end, they propose six recommendations:

  • The repeal of the emergency regime and the regressive reforms of criminal and procedural matters to people during the period due to the limited tools to sustain these measures
  • Urgent implementation of actions to accelerate pending judicial processes, as well as the prioritization of alternative measures to detention, compliance with constitutional obligations for the rehabilitation of persons deprived of liberty.
  • Establish reparation processes at the health, physical, mental and economic levels for people unjustly detained. 
  • Guarantee the protection of the rights of detainees, including respect and safeguarding of the sexual orientation and gender identity of LGBTIQ+ people.
  • Commitment to due process and accountability in cases of deaths of people in custody
  • Comprehensive policy implementation that addresses the structural causes of violence and inequality from a human rights perspective.

These proposals arise under the understanding that "There is a differentiated perception of violence in the country, however, it is recognized that this situation will not be sustainable to the extent that the structural causes that generate violence are not attacked, which is in good measure the economic inequality that exists in El Salvador? said Gonzalo Montano, member of AMANTE. 

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Nancy Limon
Nancy Limon
Graduate in Sociology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). His thematic research focus is directed towards the sociology of emotions, the body and education, as well as the philosophy of the arts. His works have been applied and presented at both national and international conferences and as is the case in his recent publications on "The body as a foundation for the inclusion of the silent society." for FlACSO, Cuba and the impact of the pandemic on education for EDU REVIEW. Additionally, she works as a teacher and researcher on political, economic and social issues. Also, he is passionate about painting, landscape photography and contemplating nature.


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