Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission: State of Exception in El Salvador | Virtual Hearing


State of Exception in El Salvador

Monday, September 12, 2022 - 12:00pm

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on the ongoing state of exception in El Salvador and its consequences for human rights.

On March 27, following an explosion of violence that resulted in 62 homicides in a single day, reportedly due to the rupture of negotiations between the government of El Salvador and gang leaders, President Nayib Bukele requested and the national assembly approved a state of exception that suspended the rights to freedom of expression, association and due process. Initially authorized for 30 days, the state of exception has been renewed five times and remains in force. Domestic and international human rights organizations, the State Department, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights have raised concerns about human rights violations occurring due to the implementation of the state of exception. According to official sources, as of August 23, 2022, more than 50,000 individuals, whom Salvadoran officials have variously referred to as “criminals” and “terrorists,” had been detained under the state of exception. Of these, 44,000 had been placed in indefinite preventive detention in overcrowded prisons with little or no access to counsel or evidence presented against them. Also as of August, at least nine prominent Salvadoran journalists have fled the country after being harassed, threatened and surveilled in the aftermath of a new media law penalizing some reporting on criminal groups. The situation reinforces concerns over growing authoritarian tendencies and deteriorating rule of law in El Salvador and the Central American region.

Witnesses will examine the implications of the state of exception and discuss how to strengthen support for human rights and rule of law in El Salvador in the current context.



117th Congress