The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, with a large pro-government majority, approved this Wednesday a second extension of an exceptional regime implemented since March 27 after a wave of murders attributed to gangs and that claimed the lives of 87 people.
The decree was approved at the request of President Nayib Bukele’s Council of Ministers with the votes of 67 deputies, of the 84 that make up Congress, for a period of 30 days, that is, it is extended until the end of next June.
The new expansion of the regime will enter into force as of its publication in the Official Gazette, according to the decree read in plenary session of Congress, which had no parliamentary analysis or discussion.
The second extension of this regime, which suspends the right of assembly, association, defense and inviolability of correspondence and telecommunications, takes place despite hundreds of complaints of human rights violations and warnings that the country is heading towards a humanitarian crisis due to the saturation of prisons, where thousands of detainees have been transferred.
The Salvadoran Constitution states that the extension must not exceed a maximum period of 30 days and will only be extended if the causes that generated the declaration are maintained, but it does not limit the times in which it can be extended, according to the analysis presented by the Bukele Government. .
Abraham Ábrego, director of Strategic Litigation of the Cristosal humanitarian organization, recently pointed out that the Magna Carta does not fully establish whether the extension can be given only once, so it is open to interpretation.
Deputies from the ruling party Nuevas Ideas (NI) pointed out that although the wave of violence that led to the implementation of the state of emergency has been controlled, the “genesis” of the gangs “has not ended”, so it is necessary that the regime continues so that “the government completely ends the gangs.
In addition, they pointed out that during the regime “there has been no violation of rights”, but rather “justice for the families, victims of the gangs”.
The non-governmental organization Cristosal alone has received more than 700 complaints of human rights violations during the emergency regime, mainly due to arbitrary detentions.
Mass arrests have been the main bet of the Bukele Executive during the state of emergency, but so far it is still unknown if the Government is working on a plan that proposes measures for a substantive solution to said phenomenon.
David Morales, former human rights attorney, recently warned that under the massive arrests of alleged gang members, the authorities have also arrested people “who are not gang members and are subjected to serious suffering and state violence.”
Half of the Salvadoran population approves of an expansion of the regime, but considers that the Government must take “other types of different measures” to confront the phenomenon of violence, according to a survey presented on Wednesday.
According to the police authorities, under the emergency regime, more than 34,500 alleged gang members have been detained.
Parliamentarian Claudia Ortiz, from the opposition party Vamos, pointed out that under the emergency regime “the rights of innocent people are being violated” and that “there are people dying in the hands of the State.”
In addition, he asked the Government to explain “why they cannot fight crime without an exception regime.”
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