El Salvador: Abuses Under State of Emergency

(New York, December 7, 2022) – Salvadoran security forces have committed widespread human rights violations since the adoption of a state of emergency approved in late March in response to a peak in gang violence, Human Rights Watch and Cristosal said in a joint report released today.

The report, “‘We Can Arrest Anyone We Want’: Widespread Human Rights Violations Under El Salvador’s ‘State of Emergency,’” documents mass arbitrary detentions, torture and other forms of ill-treatment against detainees, enforced disappearances, deaths in custody, and abuse-ridden prosecutions. The abuses were enabled by President Nayib Bukele’s swift dismantling of judicial independence since he took office in mid-2019. The report provides concrete recommendations on how Salvadoran authorities can take rights-respecting steps to dismantle gangs and protect the population from their heinous crimes, and calls on international financial institutions to establish human rights conditions to any loan provided to government entities directly involved in violations.

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“We Can Arrest Anyone We Want”