Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) corridor members wait to it is in escorted upon arrival at the maximum-security jail in Zacatecoluca, El Salvador, January 31, 2019.

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with Millions out of School, the Countdown starts to get All youngsters into Quality, accessible Education

El Salvador has amongst the world’s highest possible homicide rates. Gangs exercise territorial control over particular neighborhoods and also extort citizens throughout the country. Lock forcibly recruitment children and also subject women, girls, and also lesbian, gay, bisexual, and also transgender (LGBT) people to sexual abuse. Gangs kill, disappear, rape, or displace those who resist. These problems have brought about internal and also cross-border displacement.

Security forces remain mostly ineffective in protecting the populace from such violence. They additionally have been implicated in serious person rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, sex-related assaults, other acts the torture and also other ill-treatment, and enforced disappearances. Impunity for such violations continues to be the norm.

Girls and also women accused of having actually abortions have actually been imprisoned for homicide and also aggravated homicide. LGBT individuals face discrimination and violence through no reliable state protection.

Accountability and Justice

The psychological continued versus former military leaders accused in the 1981 El Mozote massacre, where soldiers committed mass rapes and also killed 978 civilians, consisting of 553 children.

Investigations got to hearings in only 14 the 48 situations involving 116 extrajudicial killings cursed from 2014 come 2018 the the Salvadoran Ombudsperson for the Defense of human Rights (PDDH) examined. Two led to convictions.

While in office, former Presidents Antonio Saca (2004-2009) and Mauricio funes (2009-2014) offered a “secret item” fund as among several resources to embezzle thousands of millions. In January 2019 the attorney General’s Office (FGR) included a corruption charge to the case versus Funes. Outgoing president Sanchez Cerén (2014-2019) and also President Nayib Bukele, who took office in June 2019, have additionally spent money native this fund, however no evidence linking this actions to corruption had arised as that September.

Abuses by protection Forces

President Bukele ongoing the military’s role in public defense operations, regardless of a 1992 peace accord stipulation against it. Media outlets widely reported that President Bukele’s selection for nationwide police director has been investigated for threats and also links to drug trafficking and groups that have involved in assassinations.

The central American University person Rights Institute received seven reports of upstream police systems burning victims. In March, in a sugarcane field, agents of the national Civil Police’s Tactical procedure Section allegedly beat and strangled a blindfolded, handcuffed youth whom they suspected of corridor membership or hiding tools or drugs, and set fire come the field where castle left that unconscious. Victim or witnesses of eight arbitrarily arrests in two occurrences in 2019 and also late 2018 told human Rights watch of beatings at police barracks and threatened criminal charges for “illicit association,” a vaguely defined offense used to prosecute those suspected of corridor membership.

In August, the Lethal force Monitor, a collaborative investigation by researcher in five Latin American countries, reported that Salvadoran police and soldiers killed 1,626 people from 2010 v 2017. Authorities declared that more than 90 percent that the victim were corridor members and also that nearly all were eliminated in “confrontations” or “shootouts.”

Also in August, the PDDH reported that it had examined killings the 28 boys, 7 women, and also 81 men and found couple of resulted native confrontations. In 70 percent of cases, witnesses stated victims to be unarmed. In 37 percent, witnesses claimed they observed police move the human body or place or hide evidence. In 30 percent, the body showed signs of torture, including sexual assault.

Prison and also Police Barracks

As of October 2019, the country’s jails, juvenile and youth facilities, and also adult prisons held 45,439 world in custody, an ext than double the official capacity, according to the virtual database people Prison Brief.

In June, president Bukele expanded to every prisons a “state of emergency” that the previous government had denote in 7 prisons in august 2018. That ordered 24-hour block confinement and, because that the first time since 2004, blended gang populations throughout prisons. Till then, each gang had been be separated from others to avoid clashes. In September, he declared an finish to the state that emergency, however it is unclear even if it is the policy was lifted in every prisons.

The Legal medication Institute registered 14 killing in police barracks and prisons in 2018. Several officials and inmates told human Rights clock of added deaths in custody, which castle attributed to too much heat and tuberculosis. 2 inmates told person Rights Watch the officials provided inadequate food, hygiene products, and also medicine, and also beat them and used pepper spray throughout searches.


Approximately 60,000 gang members operate in at least 247 that the country’s 262 municipalities, follow to media sources. Lock enforce your territories’ borders and also extort and also gather knowledge on residents and also those transiting, specifically around windy transport, schools, and markets.

Numerous security and also elected officials have collaborated v gangs in criminal operations, media report, and also all political parties have negotiated with them on daily operations, campaigns, and also voting. A truce lasted from 2012-14 between the nationwide government, 11 municipal governments, and the two largest gangs.

In 2016, the legislature Assembly amendment a counterterrorism statute to divide gangs together terrorist organizations. The regulation imposes prison sentences of approximately 15 year on anyone that “solicits, demands, offers, promotes, formulates, negotiates, convenes or enters right into a non-persecution agreement” v gangs.

Disappearances, Abductions, and absent Persons

In 2018, the FGR registered 3,664 victims of disappearance, abductions, and unexplained missing person cases, including 1,218 women and at the very least 24 boys and also 29 girls. The 2018 figures consisted of suspected abductions by criminal gangs and other cases in which civilization have gone lacking in unexplained circumstances. Since 2010, the police have registered end 10,800 such cases. Due to the fact that very couple of cases room investigated, understanding of perpetrators is limited.

Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights

Since 1998, abortion has actually been illegal under all circumstances. Providers and those that assist confront prison sentences of six months to 12 years.

Dozens that girls and also women, mainly from high-poverty areas, to be prosecuted in the past two decades for what lawyers and activists say to be obstetric emergencies. In part cases, the courts embraced as evidence a questionable autopsy procedure known as the floating lung test to forensically assistance the case that a fetus was delivered alive.

As the September, at the very least 16 women suspected of having abortions continued to be imprisoned on fees of manslaughter, homicide, or aggravated homicide. In March, a court commuted three women’s sentences together “disproportionate and also immoral,” offered that their households need them economically.

In August, the FGR tried Evelyn Hernandez a second time, in violation of early out process, for aggravated homicide because that a stillbirth in 2016 complying with her rape at age 17. The court found insufficient evidence to convict. In September, the FGR announced it would appeal the ruling. In the critical decade, 40 various other women have been freed after having actually sentences commuted or being discovered non-guilty.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

LGBT individuals remain targets that homophobic and transphobic violence through police, gangs, and others.

In January, Camila Díaz Cordova, a transgender woman deported from the united States, to be beaten come death. In July, the FGR charged 3 policemen with her kidnapping and also aggravated homicide.

Although El Salvador presented hate crimes into its penal password in September 2015, Salvadoran authorities told human Rights Watch the to date, just two instances have to be prosecuted together hate crimes. Human Rights clock is not conscious of any kind of bias-related killing of well-known LGBT people that have actually resulted in conviction.

In January 2019, a judge in Zacatecoluca rule in donate of a transgender woman seeking to adjust her name and also gender marker on her identity document.

Attacks on Journalists

Journalists reporting on abuses of strength or life in gang-controlled areas remain targets of fatality threats. Fake stories have actually circulated under the bylines that journalists that were not the authors, the combination of Journalists of El Salvador reported.

Throughout his choice campaign, chairman Bukele accused media, including El Faro and Revista Factum, which have received journalism’s greatest prizes in El Salvador, of doing not have objectivity. The presidential push office barred your reporters native a September push conference.

In 2019, police prevented press from spanning a veteran’s protest, indigenous visiting homicide scenes, and also from the presidential election and inauguration. Police threatened journalists who stood up to orders to revolve over equipment or come erase photos. Four journalists told person Rights watch that, since June, police have required presidential press office approval before discussing details the homicides.


Large number of human being in El Salvador room internally displaced by criminal violence, extortion, and other threats. One study approximated the variety of displaced in 2017 to be nearly 300,000.

In 2018, Salvadorans had actually 101,000 pending asylum applications in the US, the most of any type of nationality. Roughly 129,500 had applications pending in various other countries.

Salvadoran press reported at least 11 people murdered after deportation ago to El Salvador in 2019.

Key global Actors

In budget year 2019, the us disbursed over $62 million in bilateral aid to El Salvador.

In July, the FGR started collaborating with Canada and the United countries Office on Drugs and Crime to boost its response to disappearances by developing a distinct FGR unit, working with police come consolidate collection of statistics, and also urging the enhancement of “disappearance” and also “aggravated disappearance” to the criminal code.

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In September, chairman Bukele requested support from the UN and the organization of American claims to investigate and also prosecute corruption.