UN: What constituted the complaint to El Salvador's government?

For twelve days the Special Rapporteur on the subject dedicated herself to finding clues that clarify responsibility, but the government does not agree with the report

UN: What constituted the complaint to El Salvador's government?

The Special Rapporteur of the United Nations (UN) on extrajudicial executions, Agnes Callamard, visited El Salvador for almost two weeks to learn about the complaints against the state security forces about police abuses, excessive use of force and extrajudicial executions. During her visit, Callamard asked the government for "more serious efforts" to eliminate this scourge.

The Rapporteur explained that the cases of arbitrary deaths attributed to the state forces share similar characteristics as those that are recognized during supposed shootings with gangs, that there is a constant modification of the crime scene, and that those responsible are quickly transferred from the place and replaced by others to hide the individuals who should respond to justice for their actions.

Although the UN specialist noted that this scheme does not constitute a "State policy", but rather can arise as a behavior from the ranks of the Salvadoran Police and Armed Forces, she noted that the lack of investigation into these executions deepens the problem and allows its diversification. Callamard said that, in cases of executions, which social organizations number about 1,000 since 2014, not a single sentence has been pronounced, and the investigations are filed or relegated.

"These behaviors become the same as extrajudicial executions", given that "it is up to the Government to investigate all allegations of this nature and when that principle is not applied, it becomes a violation of the right to life", Callamard said in the press conference where she announced her recommendations and the result of her investigation. 

For the United Nations expert it is regrettable that the internal control agencies of the Police have a "very poor investigative capacity" at the level of the Office of the Prosecutor, for which she asked the Government to "deploy more serious efforts to investigate" the complaints, and urged it to do so in a prudent time before international pressure turns its eyes to the country. "Crimes at the hands of security agents undermine the democratic structures of the country and threaten their ability to move towards a sustainable democratic society, they cannot be forgotten, they cannot be investigated", Callamard said in front of journalists.

The expert's visit came when the country has experienced, according to various social organizations, a setback in terms of human rights as a result of the "extraordinary" security measures against gangs launched by the Executive and the Congress since 2016. Despite the the recommendations of Agnes Callamard, both the Presidency of the Republic and deputies of the Legislative Assembly and a former Minister of Security defend their continuity because they consider them a tool for the public security of the country, which have managed to contain the wave of violence, even though of its collateral effects.

The diplomat said that, although her responsibility was to observe extrajudicial executions committed by agents of the State, she also devoted herself to observing the actors that provoke violence in general. "In addition to the state, there are other powerful groups that cause victims, such as gangs and gangs, drug cartels and human traffickers. I want it to be clear that we are not only observing the state's actions", she said when questioned about her criticism of the police and the military.

El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in the world with murder rates of 103, 81.7, and 60 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2015, 2016, and 2017, respectively, violent deaths attributed mainly to the Mara Salvatrucha gangs (MS13) and Barrio 18.


Latin American Post | Carlos Eduardo Gómez Avella

Translated from " ONU: ¿en qué consistió la denuncia al gobierno de El Salvador?"

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