El Salvador

El Salvador: The implementation of a policy of mass detention during the State of Emergency

During its 75th session, on 17 and 18 November 2022, the CAT considered El Salvador’s third periodic report. The country rapporteurs were Mr Claude Heller and Ms Ana Racu.

The country delegation was led by Ms Adriana Mira, Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs. The State delegation participated in the review during a four-hour online dialogue.

Main issues discussed:

The experts raised concerns about the implementation of the state of emergency to fight gangs in March 2022. They stressed that during this period, numerous violations of the Convention had been recorded, namely excessive use of force and acts of torture by the national police and the army without any effective investigations and sentences. There are also numerous arbitrary arrests and detentions aggravating the preexisting prison overcrowding, and there is no respect for the fundamental legal guarantees for persons arrested. The Committee expressed concerns about the State's policy of criminalizing abortion and the detention conditions for women. Finally, the experts urged the State to allocate the necessary means for the reparation of the victims of the armed conflict and encouraged it to ratify the OPCAT as well as to grant the necessary resources to the National Human Rights Institution so that it can carry out its mandate.

Please find the CAT’s recommendations here.

Follow-up recommendations

The State party should provide by 25th November 2023 information on the implementation of the recommendations related to:

  • The Fundamental Legal Safeguards
  • Human rights violations that occurred during the armed conflict between 1980 and 1992
  • The monitoring of places of detention

Watch here (part one) and here (part two) the dialogue with the Committee. 

OMCT-related activities: CAT preparatory mission to El Salvador

From the 6 to the 9 of November, the Human Rights Adviser on Latin America traveled on a preparatory mission to El Salvador to mobilize civil society organisations and other stakeholders to engage with the UN CAT to achieve strong recommendations for compliance, and to train journalists on the CAT for domestic coverage. Among the challenges analyzed during the meetings with civil society organisations and journalists was the growing hostile environment for the exercice of freedom of expression, which particularly affects independent journalists.

Another concern raised by civil society organisations was the tendency of the current Government to constantly deny and discredit the importance of international human rights bodies. Over the year, 2022 the government has refused, for instance, to attend the thematic hearings at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and refused to engage in a dialogue with the Commissioners as well as with civil society organisations.

The OMCT also trained participants on the international anti-torture framework and the methodology of the drafting of an alternative report. The journalists that attended the workshop benefited from useful tools on how to follow and communicate the work and outcome of CAT sessions.

Read our alternative report (SPA)