A man with a beard and slicked-back black hair speaks at a podium with his left hand raised in the air.

El Salvador: Human rights crisis could deepen during Nayib Bukele’s second term

In response to President Nayib Bukele’s self-proclaimed re-election, which has yet to be confirmed by final official data, and following elections marked by widespread military deployment, 22 straight months of suspension of multiple civil rights in El Salvador, and serious concerns flagged by different sectors of society about the Supreme Electoral Tribunal’s independence and faithfulness to its mandate, Ana Piquer, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

“The international community must stay vigilant and use all resources and mechanisms at its disposal to halt and reverse the abuses and state violence that are jeopardizing human rights in El Salvador.”

“We are deeply concerned by how respect for and protection of human rights in El Salvador have eroded under the Nayib Bukele administration and by the likelihood that they will continue to erode at an even greater pace during his second term. Over the past five years, we have witnessed the grave crisis precipitated by a model of government that encouraged mass human rights violations and evasion of national and international accountability mechanisms.”

“His administration has also repeatedly concealed and distorted public information, backed actions to undermine civic space, militarized public security, and used mass arrests and imprisonment as the sole strategies for counteracting violence in the country, with a disproportionate effect on people living in poverty.”

“We absolutely must keep the politicized use of the criminal process and the de facto policy of torture in the prison system from becoming entrenched, as both trends have driven up the already alarming rates of due process violations, deaths in state custody, and precariousness among people deprived of liberty. Barring a change of course, a new generation of victims of the state is at hand.”

“We have already witnessed the grave consequences of the international community’s failure to take coordinated, swift and forceful action against these repressive models, both in El Salvador and elsewhere in the region. The situation thus demands a vehement international reaction that is commensurate to this growing and deepening human rights crisis.”

Header photo credit: Carlos Moronta/Presidencia República Dominicana/Flickr