El Salvador

El Salvador’s Congress creates group to investigate harassment of the press using state funds

On 6th August 2020, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) published a statement condemning President Nayib Bukele and Salvadoran public officials’ threats against journalists and the press. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

El Salvador’s Congress creates group to investigate harassment of the press using state funds

El Salvador’s disproportionate measures to curb COVID-19 affect fundamental freedoms

On 15th April 2020, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele openly vowed to defy a ruling by the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber that found no legal basis for state of emergency decrees ordering the arrest of those accused of failing to comply with curfew orders imposed as part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

El Salvador’s disproportionate measures to curb COVID-19 affect fundamental freedoms

El Salvador’s response to COVID-19 excessively restricts fundamental rights, say CSOs

On 22nd March 2020, security forces in El Salvador began enforcing a government-mandated lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On the policy’s first night, 269 people across the country were reportedly detained for breaking the quarantine. Since emergency measures were implemented, local civil society organisations have urged public authorities to exercise exceptional powers responsibly, for instance by developing protocols to avoid illegal detentions. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

El Salvador’s response to COVID-19 excessively restricts fundamental rights, say CSOs

Conviction of activist in El Salvador highlights need for a safer environment for defenders

On 11th December 2019, human rights defender Lissania Zelaya of feminist collective Colectiva Amorales was found guilty of slander. She was sentenced to pay a fine of USD 2,027 for denouncing the fact that university professor Ricardo Mendoza had used his position as a drama teacher to sexually assault and harass students. Read more

Conviction of activist in El Salvador highlights need for a safer environment for defenders

Human rights organisations accuse prosecutors of criminalising community defenders

Human rights organisations of El Savador’s Foro del Agua (Water Forum) have denounced the criminalisation of activists defending the right to water in Tacuba, Ahuachapán department. According to their complaint, two prosecutors have accused community defenders of offences such as aggravated theft without providing evidence, in legal cases that have been technically inconsistent.

Also in this update: protests against gender-based violence and sexual assault, two journalists were attacked by an anonymous account seeking to discredit their work, and El Salvador had its first Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in loco visit in 32 years. Read more

Human rights organisations accuse prosecutors of criminalising community defenders

Bukele’s government restricts press access to events

On 6 September 2019, a group of journalists, including Gabriel Labrador and Fernando Romero, from El Faro and Factum Magazine respectively, was denied access to an official press conference. On 10 September 2019, El Salvador’s Mesa de Protección a Periodistas (Board for Protection of Journalists) highlighted the restrictions against El Faro and Factum in a statement expressing deep concerns about the situation of freedom of expression in El Saldor. The Board outlined a number of reasons for concern, including restrictions on press, increasing expressions of hate on social media against journalists who criticise the government, and lack of transparency and access to information. Read more

Bukele’s government restricts press access to events

Salvadoran women HRDs face online harassment and threats

Smear campaigns against three women HRDs and two journalists, as well as online harassment encouraged by government authorities, raise concerns about freedom of expression in El Salvador under the Nayib Bukele government. This update covers civic space developments from 03 July 2019 to 15 August 2019.

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Salvadoran women HRDs face online harassment and threats

Intimidation of activists and journalists in El Salvador

On 27th May 2019, activists from Colectiva Amorales received subpoenas from a Salvadorian court; they are accused of slander by Professor Ricardo Mendoza of the University of San Salvador. Colectiva Amorales is an organisation that uses art to publicly denounce cases of violence against women. In 2016 the movement denounced Mendoza for taking advantage of his role and status as a theatre professor to sexually assault his students. Colectivo Amorales issued a statement asserting that this recent court case is an attempt to censor and silence human rights defenders. Read more

Intimidation of activists and journalists in El Salvador

LGBTI community targeted in El Salvador

The regional initiative IM-Defensoras reported that two LGBTI activists, Andrea Ayala and Barbara Romero, have been subjected to a defamation campaign through social media. Read more

 LGBTI community targeted in El Salvador

Dozens of demonstrators injured and one killed in clashes with the National Police

On 8th November, clashes between street vendors and the National Police were reported in Santa Tecla. This happened after the vendors failed to reach an agreement with the Mayor regarding the relocation of the vendors. Read more

 Dozens of demonstrators injured and one killed in clashes with the National Police