The Salvadoran State of Exception is extended for the tenth consecutive time for 30 days

By Eddie Galdamez  | Updated on Jan 12th, 2023
El Salvador Army Personal
Minister of Defense of El Salvador Merino Monroy. Image by @merino_monroy

The State of Exception will remain in force for another 30 days. The Legislative Assembly approved the extension on January 11, with votes from the New Ideas political party and its allies. The security measure, which has strong support from the population, continues until February 15, 2023.

The measure got extended with 67 votes in favor out of the country’s 84-seat legislative Assembly. Legislators and the Bukele Government say that the emergency measures have led to a historic drop in murders in 2022.

Once again, we are here to request the extension of Regimen of Exception. Since the results have shown its effectiveness, the population is living calmer and can mobilize without fear.” Minister Gustavo Villatoro.

On the other hand, rights groups organizations and Bukele’s opposition have raised concerns during the long State of Emergency about reported abuses and human rights violations. Opposition legislators assure that there is no justification for maintaining the suspension of constitutional rights.

For the people who, even though they are innocent, are imprisoned, tortured, and even killed in jails; for those whom the government calls “margin of error.” For them I voted against extending the exception regime.” Deputy Claudia Ortiz.

Homicide reduction

Based on homicide reduction, the Salvadoran Government supports maintaining the emergency regime. El Salvador closed 2022 with 495 murders for a rate of 7.8 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. El Salvador ended the year with fewer homicides than Costa Rica.

Homicides in El Salvador in 2022 were reduced by 56.84% compared to 2021. 2022 ended as the safest year in Salvadoran history. So far, the regime has resulted in the arrest of over 61,000 people.

Abuses and human rights violations

Human rights organizations have claimed that many of the 61,000-plus arrests have been based on the appearance or social background of the detainees and not actual evidence.

Human Rights Watch has documented that hundreds of people with no connection to gangs have been unjustly detained. According to these organizations“there have been serious abuses by security forces during the state of emergency, including arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture, and other forms of ill-treatment.”

What’s next

The State of Exception has the approval of the majority of Salvadorans. All surveys conducted since the security measure started have shown that it has a high approval rate.

The Legislative Assembly, controlled by New Ideas and allies, has supported the state of emergency since last March 27, 2022. Based on comments by these legislators, it seems that the Estate of Exception will be extended until 2024.