The administration of President Nayib Bukele has launched an assault on democratic institutions, including by summarily replacing the attorney general and all the judges in the constitutional chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court. After Bukele’s allies won a legislative majority in May 2021, they passed legislation that undermined judicial independence, including by arbitrarily dismissing lower court judges and prosecutors, and restricted transparency.

In recent years, state security forces have committed egregious abuses, including extrajudicial executions, sexual assaults, and enforced disappearances. Authorities have routinely failed to investigate crimes and in many cases collaborated with gangs. Gangs exercise territorial control, extort residents, and kill, disappear, rape, or displace those who resist them. Girls and women alleged to have had abortions have been imprisoned for homicide.