Comments, In Focus, Latin America

State of emergency triggers violence and violation of freedoms

Faced with a State of Emergency in El Salvador and their possible exit from IACHR, international organisations are calling attention to the announcement, which could criminalise and violate everyone’s human rights.


Betsie Bandala


El Salvador finds itself in a complicated situation, because the president of the nation, Nayib Bukele, decreed a state of emergency across the country on 27th March.

This meant an increase in murders that has not been seen for two years.

International organisations had already shown concern over such actions. One of those was the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR), after they had questioned the measures adopted in prisons following the recent wave of homicides.

Nayib Bukele, stressed that the international community should leave El Salvador alone, and he did not disregard the idea of leaving the organisation.

But, what is happening in El Salvador?

President Nayib Bukele, according to information from newspaper El Faro, negotiated with gangs to make them his political associates. Presumably, this did not work, given that it resulted in a terrible massacre and the State of Emergency.

Following the laws in El Salvador, article 29 defines the measure as applicable “in case of war, invasion, rebellion, sedition, catastrophe, epidemic and other general calamity, or serious disturbances of public order.”

In this moment, the freedoms of El Salvadorians have been restricted, for example: the freedom to enter and leave the country; freedom to express and spread their ideas; freedom of meeting; and privacy of correspondence or the prohibition of wiretapping phone calls, respectively.

But this is not a new situation. Some months ago, journalists from the newspaper El Faro, were involved with Pegasus, which left guarantees of human rights for the people of that country up in the air.

At this time, there have been mass arrests and house-to-house raids, which are carrying out a war against gangs, such as the Mara Salvatrucha gang.


On social media the changes are spreading which are being made in prisons in El Salvador; the way they are mobilised, the fact that they have decreased their food ration and even removed their mattresses, has left a lot to discuss about the violation of their human rights.

In the face of pronouncements against the president, he has done the reverse to them through Twitter.

The opposition and the NGOs indicated that security forces are going too far in the application of the state of emergency. Another worrying aspect is that this measure will last for 30 days, and it seems that it could even be extended for another month.

Article published in El Ciudadano.

(Translated by Donna Davison. Email: Pixabay

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