GENEVA (22 May 2023) – UN experts* today expressed dismay at the renewal of El Salvador’s state of emergency, which has now been in place for more than a year.

They called for the state of emergency to be lifted immediately and for the Government to review the sweeping new powers it has introduced to tackle the country’s gang problem.

“The state of emergency was declared following a series of gang-related killings. Despite its obligation to protect citizens from such atrocious acts, the Government cannot trample on fair trial rights in the name of public safety,” the experts said.

They urged authorities in El Salvador to ensure that people are not arrested on mere suspicion of gang membership or association without sufficient legal authorisation, that detainees are afforded all fundamental safeguards required under international human rights law and guaranteed due process.

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