Amnesty International Reports Alarming Human Rights Crisis in El Salvador

By Eddie Galdamez  |  Dec 5th, 2023
Amnesty International Human Rights El SalvadorAmnesty International Press Conference. Image by AmnistiaOnline

Amnesty International denounced an alarming deterioration in respect to the protection of human rights in El Salvador.

At a press conference today, Ana Piquer, the Americas Director of Amnesty International, unveiled the report alongside various representatives from local human rights organizations.

The international human rights organization denounced that the policies and laws applied in El Salvador to combat insecurity, prepared under the state of exception, have led the country to one of its worst crises in terms of Human Rights since the end of the war.

In these 21 months, Amnesty International has verified patterns of violations of human rights, such as massive arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment against people in detention centers, and deaths of people in the custody of the state. Ana Amancay Piquer.

“What we are witnessing in El Salvador is a tragic repetition of history, where state violence is gradually replacing gang violence, leaving the same vulnerable communities trapped in an endless cycle of abuse and hopelessness,” remarked Piquer.

According to the organization, they carried out three investigative missions and 83 interviews to document the other side of the State of exception applied in El Salvador since March 2022.

According to Amnesty International, the repressive approach to security, which has led to arbitrary detentions, is accompanied by a legal framework that puts risk due process and the systematic use of torture and ill-treatment against detainees.

The Americas Director of Amnesty International stressed that the current security actions are a short-term solution not sustainable over time. She also mentioned that what the State of Exception is doing is replacing one form of violence with another form of violence and that the people affected remain the same.

Representatives of local human rights organizations also commented on the issue.

This story is not new, it cannot be considered a modernization of the State but rather a repetition of the past…presidents who have sought immediate re-election end up with dictatorships based on states of exception throughout their entire government. Noah Bullock, Executive Director of Cristosal.

This policy is based not only on serious human rights violations but also on a disregard for the victims of violence. The State is not providing justice to the victims; it is selling revenge. Veronica Reyna.

Gabriela Santos, Director of UCA’s Human Rights Institute (Idhuca), explained that for months, they have been denouncing the abuse and concentration of power that stigmatizes the work of defending human rights.

“We are facing a State that violates human rights, represses human rights, and denies these violations,” remarked Gabriela Santos.

Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have called on the Salvadoran government to lift the state of emergency, which has been in effect since March 2022.

However, this is something the Bukele administration is not willing to do since it has reduced homicides in the country and has the approval of most Salvadorans. For many people, Life in El Salvador is better under the state of Exception.