Salvadoran State of Exception is extended for the 14 consecutive time for 30 days

By Eddie Galdamez  | Updated on May 16th, 2023
El Salvador Army Personal
Minister of Defense of El Salvador Merino Monroy. Image by @merino_monroy

The Salvadoran State of Exception will remain in force for another 30 days. The security measure, which has strong support from the population, will continue until June 2023. On March 27, 2023, the exception regime celebrated one year of being in force.

The measure got extended on May 16 with a supermajority 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 during their implementation.

As of today, the Salvadoran State of Exception has resulted in over 68,500 arrests with 3,669 seized vehicles, and 2,752 firearms confiscated.

This is a constitutional tool that has made it clear that the results are evident, the arguments are there where the only beneficiaries have been the Salvadoran people. Mauricio Arriaza Chicas, Salvadoran Police Director.

“This legal tool has provided the Salvadoran people with all the legal capabilities to neutralize and eliminate Maras and gangs. One year after Regimen of Exception, Salvadorans have experienced true peace.” Merino Monroy, Salvadoran Minister of Defense.

On the other hand, human rights organizations and the 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.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador Homicide Rate (2010-2023).

I am convinced that peace in the streets can be achieved without the great human cost. And what is that cost? The margin of error: thousands of innocent people arrested, imprisoned, sick, some tortured, and even dead in prisons.” Deputy Claudia Ortiz. (Feb 14)

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.

Lastly, El Salvador has set a record of days with zero homicides during the Bukele administration. As of May 16, 2023, the national police reported 368 days with zero homicides, with 98 of those days accomplished in 2023.

Abuses and human rights violations

Human rights organizations have claimed that many of the 68,500-plus arrests were based on the appearance or social background of the detainees and not actual evidence, which violates the individual’s human rights.

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.