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A 2020 of setbacks in Human Rights in El Salvador, according to a former attorney

San Salvador, Jan 10 (EFE) .- 2020 was a year of setbacks in terms of human rights and human rights violations, especially in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, as the former Human Rights attorney said in a conversation with Efe from El Salvador David Morales (2013-2016). “We have had a year, in my view, of many setbacks and human rights violations, especially those that occurred in the policy scenario to address the covid-19 pandemic,” he said. PANDEMIC AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS For Morales in 2020 due to the pandemic “we had public policies characterized by human rights violations.” “There was a clear policy of arbitrary and systematic detentions within the framework of quarantines that were ordered outside the law, with abuses of power and the establishment of criteria that violated human rights and due process,” he said. According to the former prosecutor, “there were hundreds of arbitrary detentions, deprivation of liberty and subjection of population groups to inhumane conditions of confinement causing forced infections of (the) covid-19”. Between March and July 2020, Salvadorans were under a mandatory home quarantine to contain infections from the pandemic. However, this measure implied, among other things, the detention of people who allegedly did not respect the provision, who were taken to containment centers installed by the Government, which violated their rights, according to various defenders thereof. SETTLEMENTS IN TRANSPARENCY MATTERS According to Morales, in 2020 there were also “serious setbacks in terms of transparency, (…) and the law on access to public information has been systematically violated.” “It has practically fallen into a situation in which the different government offices deny information and declare it in reserve,” he said. In addition, he brought up the attacks on investigative journalists, “systematic attacks through social networks loaded with misogynism and discrimination, especially against women journalists.” DECREASE IN HOMICIDES? Morales said that the reduction of homicides in general stands out “as a very evident positive element,” which, according to the lawyer, “does not imply a decrease in criminal activity or the pressure and violence that gangs exert on the communities “. El Salvador, considered one of the most violent countries in the world, closed 2020 with 1,322 homicides, approximately 45% less than those registered in 2019, as reported by the Presidency on January 1. “Forced displacement, extortion, violence against women and girls, and against youth in the communities continues (…) the effective control of the State in communities where there is a strong presence of gangs is demonstrated by many journalistic investigations that it is not a reality, “he said. Morales said that although the decrease in homicides is a “positive factor” it is also questioned by very forceful journalistic investigations that a government pact with the leaders of criminal structures could be behind it, which cannot only be illegal, but also it’s very dangerous. ” The investigative outlet El Faro published a report in September last year, which cites official documents and statements from a gang leader, in which it states that the Executive has been negotiating with the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) since June and that the pact it includes electoral favors for the legislative and municipal elections next February. “The evidence that the Government of Nayib Bukele is negotiating with the Mara Salvatrucha are official documents of the Government itself,” opens the text that shook the politics of the Central American country. “It is important that in a process of violence prevention, of eradication of violence, there is not only repression but also that there be prevention policies that include the reintegration of offenders, including community dialogues. Dialogue is important to prevent violence and to overcome causes that are generating violence, “he said. The former attorney general said that “what is not admissible are political negotiations with the highest levels of criminal power, mafias or organized crime that can rekindle the criminal force and the sophistication that these structures already have.” “The scenario is still not very clear as to whether this decrease in homicides is sustainable. It seems clear that it does not derive from a territorial control plan, we do not know what it is, there is no official information, it does not seem to be a real public policy, but rather, rather, a publicity stunt, “he added. DETERIORATION OF DEMOCRATIC STANDARDS Morales pointed out that all of the above leads to “deterioration of democratic standards that are putting at risk, not only the rule of law, but the human rights situation.” “We did not have an optimal State (before the arrival of Nayib Bukele to the Executive) but there was an important construction in the structures of the State that were trying to advance in the protection of human rights,” he said. He added that “there are very clear expressions of concern at the international level about these abuses, there is international attention on these setbacks to democratic standards and human rights violations in El Salvador.” Sara Acosta (c) EFE Agency

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