International Community Denounces Political Persecution and Violation of Constitutional Rights

Press Release

Press Release: For Immediate Release 

September 2, 2022

Media Contact: Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador - CISPES - (Washington D.C.): +001-202-521-2510, [email protected]

International community expresses concern over political persecution and violations of constitutional rights in El Salvador, call on public institutions to uphold their obligations impartially

In letters signed by nearly 1,000 individuals and more than 70 organizations that were delivered today to the Supreme Court of Justice, the Attorney General's Office and the Human Rights Ombudsman's Office of El Salvador, representatives of the Salvadoran diaspora and the international community, expressed concern about the setbacks in democratic matters under the current government.

In the letters, organizations and individuals described an environment of “attacks and harassment of political opponents,” including “journalists, union leaders [or] well-known religious leaders,” which limits the possibility of “democratic plurality” in the country.

Among their main concerns, the organizations and individuals highlight the resurgent phenomenon of politically-motivated arrests, noting that numerous political opposition figures are now being held in extended detention without having faced trial, let alone a conviction, warning that this phenomenon has not been seen in the country since the signing of the 1992 Peace Accords.

But those critical of the current regime are not the only ones vulnerable to violations of their fundamental rights. Thousands of young people in El Salvador today are being criminalized and captured "without having presented evidence or respecting the right to due process," they write, lamenting that this has become “standard practice against the entire Salvadoran population under the State of Exception,”a 30-day emergency measure that El Salvador’s legislature, dominated by President Bukele’s party, New Ideas, has repeatedly extended since March 27, and which has resulted in over 50,000 arrests in increasingly inhumane and deadly conditions that have led to over 70 deaths of people in custody.

International organizations, Salvadorans in the diaspora and other allies of the Salvadoran people are urging state institutions such as the Attorney General's Office, the Supreme Court of Justice, and the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman to act impartially and to comply with their constitutional duties, and to defend the integrity of Salvadoran citizens, among other demands.

Comments by participating organizations:

“We condemn the capture of innocent people under the State of Exception, and we support the writ of habeas corpus filed by Tutela Legal (Maria Julia Hernandez) demanding respect for the human rights of the captured people and their immediate freedom!” - SHARE Foundation

“‘I beseech you, I beg you, I command you in the name of God, stop the repression!’ May this cry of St. Óscar Romero resound again in every corner of El Salvador.  We join once again in this historic call, which is charged with hope and solidarity with the thousands of victims of a state without a strategy to build peace processes. Let us listen to Pope Francis’ call to avoid being part of the ‘throwaway culture.’ Let us not build new prisons where the lives of the most vulnerable people are discarded. Let us build spaces where we can forge community and little by little adopt a culture of peace.”  - Roxana Bendezú, Pax Christi USA

“Our hearts go out to the thousands of Salvadoran families living in fear of arbitrary detention and denial of their rights, or with great concern for the safety and well-being of their loved ones who have been unjustly imprisoned. We echo the position of social and popular organizations, who continue to fight for a just and dignified life for the Salvadoran people, that it is not possible to address the most urgent problems facing the population in a context where political freedoms are not respected. The dissolution of democratic processes enshrined in the 1992 Peace Accords and the administration’s indifference towards constitutional guarantees not only endangers the lives of political dissidents, but also represents a dangerous attack against the entire Salvadoran society.” - Alexis Stoumbelis, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)

View the signed letters that were delivered below (English language translation of text here):

Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice

Attorney General's Office of the Republic

Human Rights Ombudsman

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