Investigative journalists threatened after publishing report on police "death squads"

Expression

Concerns have arisen over death threats made towards journalists from El Faro and Revista Factum after Factum published a report on police abuses through “death squads”, where cases of extrajudicial killings have been documented. As reported by El Faro, four people claiming to work for the national human rights office visited Factum's offices and requested information regarding the employees’ schedules. Later the Ombudsman's office said they had not sent any staff to the media outlets. 

Representatives from the two outlets have declared that even though the authorities have subsequently ordered protection measures, they have rejected police protection due to lack of trust in the institution. The Committee to Protect Journalists stated in regard to the incident that: 

"Factum and El Faro are vital sources of information for Salvadoran citizens, and authorities must ensure they are able to work without facing violence from the very groups they are investigating, including security forces tasked with combating criminal gangs".

Association

On 26th September 2017, a group of civil society organsiations from El Salvador presented an evaluation of Raquel Caballero Guevara's first year as head of the Office of the Human Rights Procurator (PDDH). The organisations reported that there has been some backsliding in the PDDH's fulfillment of its mandate due to decisions such as the closing of PDDH offices in at least three municipalities and the lack of regard for LGBTI rights. Saúl Baños from the Foundation for Studies on the Application of Law stated in particular that: 

"We consider that there is a setback in the attention towards and protection of the human rights of Salvadorans. It seems that the procurator is more oriented towards serving and protecting agents of the State when the same Constitution states that she should protect the individual citizens". (Translated from Spanish)

Peaceful Assembly

On 23rd September, it was reported that during the Ombudsman's presentation of its office's annual report, LGBTI activists organised a demonstration to raise awareness about the lack of support from the Ombudsman in promoting their rights. Security officers tried to remove the activists from the stage as they attempted to demonstrate while the presentation was being made.