Impunity for past human rights violations continued, although there were some positive developments. A total ban on abortion remained in place. There was a marked increase in the number of women killed.
In June, President Funes took office following the election victory of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional, FMLN) earlier in the year. In November, President Funes declared a state of emergency following Hurricane Ida which left 140 dead and 140,000 displaced. El Salvador did not accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The 1993 Amnesty Law remained in place, obstructing efforts to bring to justice those responsible for past human rights violations. The new government pledged to reform the Inter-Institutional Commission for the Search for Disappeared Children established to clarify the whereabouts of some of the 700 children who disappeared during the internal armed conflict (1980-1992). The Commission had been criticized for only finding the whereabouts of some 30 of the children by the end of its mandate.
- In October, the US Supreme Court denied a petition from the former Salvadoran Vice-Minister of Defence, Colonel Nicolás Carranza, for a review of his conviction in 2005. He was found guilty of crimes against humanity committed by units of the security forces under his control between 1979 and 1981.
- In January, a Spanish National Court formally charged 14 army officers and soldiers with crimes against humanity and state terrorism for the killings of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her 16-year-old daughter at the Central American University in November 1989.
- In November, at a session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, El Salvador accepted responsibility for the killing of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero as he said mass in a hospice in San Salvador in March 1980. The government declared its intention to fulfil the requirements of the Commission’s 2000 report which included a thorough and independent investigation into the murder, reparations and repeal of the 1993 Amnesty Law.
Sexual and reproductive rights
A total ban on abortion remained in effect. Women campaigned before the Legislative Assembly for the issue to be tabled for discussion and reform.
Violence against women and girls
According to statistics provided by the Institute for Legal Medicine, some 411 women were reported to have been killed between January and September, a significant rise over 2008. In many of these cases, the women were abducted and raped and their bodies mutilated. No data was available regarding investigations into a large number of these killings.
In November, the UN Committee against Torture expressed concern about the various forms of violence against women and girls – including sexual abuse, domestic violence and killings – and the lack of rigorous investigations into complaints.
Indigenous Peoples’ rights
Indigenous groups called on the new government to fulfil its pre-election commitment to sign ILO Convention No.169 and strengthen protection for Indigenous rights. In the absence of such protection, Indigenous communities continued to face discrimination and to be denied their rights regarding land and water.