LGBTI activists continue to face harassment in El Salvador

Association

Activists from the LGBTI community in El Salvador continue to endure hate crimes and harassment. In a public hearing before the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights, LGBTI activists explained the challenges they face in the country. For example, in the first two months of 2017, they reported 14 crimes committed against members of the community. As previously report by the CIVICUS Monitor, the crimes included the murder of three members of the transgender community in February 2017. 

In a separate incident, the Second Chamber Criminal Court issued a decision to begin prosecuting two members of the National Police who were allegedly involved in an attack against an LGBTI activist in 2015. This decision is a positive development, since initially the trial court had decided not to prosecute the police officers due to a lack of evidence.

Expression

In early April, the Inter-American Press Association presented a report on the situation for freedom of expression in El Salvador thus far in 2017. The report stated that freedom of expression remains under attack and pressure from government officials. The report cited the case of journalist Christian Melendez, who has received death threats, as well as the case of the San Salvador City Mayor accusing a journalist of defamation. 

In a positive development, the report highlighted the prosecution of five people, including the former communications manager of the city of San Salvador, for the cyber attack against the newspaper La Prensa Gráfica in 2015.

Peaceful Assembly

On 31st March 2017, hundreds of war veterans and union members in El Salvador protested to petition for new legislation that would include benefits for war veterans. The police used a barricade to prevent them from reaching the final destination of their protest. However, there were no reports of violence or clashes between police and demonstrators.