El Salvador—Violence Against Women and LGBTI Individuals—Human Rights Council—March 2019

The Advocates for Human Rights submitted a report on March 22nd, 2019 to the 34th Session of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review addressing El Salvador’s compliance with commitments made to improving human rights conditions.

The report highlights human rights violations against women and LGBTI individuals by both armed gangs and public security officials. The report recognizes the epidemic of domestic violence, gender-based sexual violence, and femicide as well as the ineffective government response. The report cites that in 2017, one woman was killed every 18.7 hours and that femicide impunity rates are estimated to stand as high as 77%. Violence takes a uniquely harsh toll on the LGBTI community in El Salvador, but the government has yet to prosecute anti-LGBTI hate crimes. The report identifies gangs as among the most serious threats to human rights in El Salvador. Gangs often treat women as disposable, perpetrating serious gender-based human rights abuses, and use families as bargaining chips in extortion schemes, coercive recruitment, and political intimidation.

The Advocates’ report makes several suggestions to the State Party to improve the human rights conditions of its people, including:

  • Put into practice strategies aimed at eliminating gender stereotypes in society and take concrete steps to address the societal and cultural pressures on victims and increase the reporting of crimes of violence against women, including sexual assault and domestic violence
  • Provide training on domestic violence for police, in consultation with or led by NGOs that serve victims of domestic violence, on the law, dynamics of domestic violence, and best practices in police response.
  • Monitor and review the performance of police, prosecutors, and judges relating to the adjudication of cases involving violence against women.
  • Compile and publish on an annual basis data about the number of calls to the sexual diversity helpline, as well as the type of help requested, assistance provided, and demographic information about the callers.
  • Ensure that police compile and publish data on an annual basis about all reported acts of violence and threats of violence allegedly based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as any action taken to investigate and prosecute such actions.
  • Ensure that victims of violence and discrimination based on SOGI receive appropriate rehabilitative services and support.