El Salvador

Democratic backslide in El Salvador deepens

On 1st May 2021, newly elected lawmakers took office in the Legislative Assembly after ruling party Nuevas Ideas won a two-thirds majority in February 2021. On their first day, government allies in the Legislative Assembly voted to remove and replace the five judges on the Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court, as well as the Attorney-General. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Democratic backslide in El Salvador deepens

Experts underscore steep decline in freedom of expression in El Salvador

On 17th March 2021, journalist Wendy Hernández denounced comments made by a judge in the initial hearing of the journalist’s case against a man who allegedly harassed her during an interview. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Experts underscore steep decline in freedom of expression in El Salvador

Bukele secures supermajority in El Salvador's legislature

On 28th February 2021, legislative and municipal elections took place in El Salvador. Nayib Bukele’s party Nuevas Ideas won 56 seats, reaching the number needed to secure a supermajority in the country’s single-chamber legislature for the 2021–2024 period. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Bukele secures supermajority in El Salvador's legislature

El Salvador’s government attempts to discredit independent press

In a news conference on 24th September 2020, President Nayib Bukele announced that independent media outlet El Faro was under investigation for alleged money laundering. Without proof, Bukele also accused a number of news outlets including El Faro, the Revista Factum, Gato Encerrado and La Prensa Gráfica of lying and “attacking” his government. Read more

El Salvador’s government attempts to discredit independent press

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