El Salvador: After IACHR’s visit, the government must make major changes to guarantee human rights

President Nayib Bukele’s government must follow the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and make major changes to improve the human rights situation in El Salvador, Amnesty International said today after closely monitoring the organization’s first in loco visit to the country in 32 years.
“After the visit of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, President Bukele’s government has an opportunity to accept its recommendations and carry out major changes to guarantee human rights for all El Salvador’s people. The new government must show its commitment to human rights by turning words into deeds and formulating and implementing public policies”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
“The government’s consent to the IACHR’s visit was an important step in the right direction. We hope it will be accompanied by a firm commitment that extends beyond the visit and is reflected in a visible improvement in the life of the Salvadoran people. National organizations have robust and innovative proposals to improve the human rights situation in the country. The authorities must build channels to promote their participation and ensure that their valuable contributions will be considered”.
The agenda of the IACHR’s in loco visit comprised five key issues: public security, transitional justice, people deprived of their freedom, migrants’ rights, women’s rights and LGBTI people. The IACHR met state authorities and civil society organizations during its visit. 
Civil society organizations raised a series of human rights concerns. In particular, they advised the IACHR of the need to maintain and strengthen channels for participation and dialogue between organizations and state institutions. 
Regarding public security, the organizations said they were unaware of the content of the “Territorial Control Plan” that sets out the country’s national security policy. The organizations expressed concern about the continued repressive approach and the militarization of public security. 
As part of the discussion on the proposed bill before the Legislative Assembly’s Policy Commission, which could have implications for access to justice for victims of the armed conflict in El Salvador, the victims and survivors of grave human rights violations said their voices must be heard to ensure compliance with the demands of international law on this matter. They stressed the importance of providing national authorities and victims with access to the information in government archives, including the military archives covering the years of the conflict. They also asked that data be provided on crimes under international law committed during the armed conflict and any suspects.
The organizations also denounced violations of the rights of women and LGBTI people and asked the IACHR to mediate to ensure that government policies guarantee the human rights of these sectors of the population. In this context, a matter of special concern was the absolute prohibition on abortion, the criminalization of women suffering miscarriages and obstetric emergencies and the repeated denunciations of hate crimes suffered by LGBTI people. 
Relatives of migrants who died or disappeared while migrating expressed the importance of adopting specific legislation, in accordance with international standards, on the search for and identification of disappeared people and the development  of a forensic database on missing migrants.
An in loco visit is the most important official visit that the IACHR can undertake in plenary (with seven commissioners, special rapporteurs and the executive secretary) to a member state of the Organization of American States, to conduct a detailed assessment of the general human rights situation in the territory under its jurisdiction. This visit took place at the government’s invitation. 
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, 613-744-7667 ext. 236, lscholey@amnesty.ca