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International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
El Salvador (CCPR 09-05-2018)
The Committee considered the seventh periodic report of El Salvador (CCPR/C/SLV/7) at its 3456th and 3457th meetings (see CCPR/C/SR.3456 and 3457), held on 13 and 14 March 2018. At its 3478th and 3479th meetings (CCPR/C/SR.3478 and 3479), held on 28 and 29 March 2018, the Committee adopted the present concluding observations.
C. Principal matters of concern and recommendations
- The Committee is concerned about the absence of a comprehensive anti-discrimination legal framework, as well as the persistence of discrimination against persons of African descent, indigenous people, migrants, persons with disabilities, women engaged in prostitution, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons and persons infected with HIV, especially in the areas of education, health, housing and employment. The Committee is alarmed by the high number of threats, attacks and killings, including by State agents, aimed at LGBTI persons, especially transgender persons, as well as by the high level of impunity for such crimes. The Committee notes that, despite the fact that hate crime based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression has now been incorporated in domestic legislation, the relevant provision has not been applied to any cases (arts. 2, 3, 6, 7, 17, 25, 26 and 27).
- The State party should:
(a) Adopt comprehensive legislation prohibiting discrimination, including direct and indirect discrimination, in all spheres, both in the public and private sectors;
(b) Take the necessary steps to guarantee full protection from discrimination, both in law and in practice, against persons of African descent, indigenous communities, migrants, persons with disabilities, LGBTI persons and persons infected with HIV, by, inter alia, increasing the number of training programmes for law enforcement and security personnel and awareness campaigns promoting tolerance and respect for diversity. It should also take steps to ensure the full participation of minority groups, including persons of African descent and indigenous communities, in political life;
(c) Adopt and implement effective policies for the protection of LGBTI persons, including through the creation of a specialized unit to investigate hate crimes against them, and ensure full recognition of the legal identity of transgender persons;
(d) Ensure that cases of discrimination and violence committed by individuals or State agents are systematically investigated, that those responsible are punished with appropriate penalties and that victims receive full reparation.
Prohibition of slavery, forced labour and trafficking in persons
- While the Committee recognizes the efforts made by the State party to combat trafficking in persons, it is concerned about the persistence of this phenomenon, particularly as it affects women, children and LGBTI persons; the lack of protection and assistance provided to victims; the low number of prosecutions and convictions; and reports on the obstruction of investigations due to corruption in the judicial system. The Committee is also concerned about the prevalence of the worst forms of child labour and reports of labour exploitation and the forced labour of women in the maquiladora industry, as well as in the fishing, agricultural and domestic sectors, especially in the case of women and children (arts. 3, 7, 8 and 24).
- The State party should step up its efforts to prevent, combat and punish trafficking in persons and ensure that the measures it takes are implemented effectively. It should ensure that crimes of trafficking in persons are investigated, the perpetrators prosecuted and punished, and victims given access to adequate protection and assistance measures. It should also step up its efforts to prevent, combat and punish the use of child labour, including in its worst forms, and forced labour, particularly in the maquiladora industry and in the fishing, agricultural and domestic sectors. It should ensure that legal protection is in place and that labour law is enforced, including by ensuring the provision of appropriate training, effective inspections and the imposition of penalties on employers.
Migrants, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons
- The Committee is concerned about reports that a large number of persons — in particular women, children, adolescents and LGBTI persons — have been displaced internally as a result of the violence prevailing in the State party, as well as about the absence of official statistics and the lack of assistance and protection for these population groups (arts. 2, 12, 24 and 26).
- The State party should step up its efforts to prevent internal displacement. It should also establish a national register of internally displaced persons and a legal framework, policies and programmes aimed at ensuring that assistance and protection are provided to such persons, and in particular women, children, adolescents and LGBTI persons.
Freedom of expression, freedom of association, and violence against human rights defenders and journalists
- The Committee is concerned about acts of violence and intimidation against human rights defenders and journalists, as well as the lack of measures to protect them, particularly those working to defend the rights of women, LGBTI persons and indigenous peoples, as well as reproductive and sexual rights, and those documenting extrajudicial executions or investigating past crimes. The Committee is also concerned about the implementation of articles 345 and 348 of the Criminal Code, which respectively concern “illegal groups, associations and organizations” and the crime of “public disorder”, and article 331 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which prohibits the application of alternatives to provisional detention for the offence of public disorder, since that prohibition could lead to restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association (arts. 6, 7, 9, 19, 21 and 22).
- The State party should ensure the provision of effective assistance and protection to human rights defenders and journalists who are subjected to threats, violence and intimidation, and should ensure that they can carry out their work in appropriate conditions, including by recognizing the right of individuals, organizations and groups to defend human rights, by adopting special legislative measures for their protection, and by effectively implementing precautionary measures. The State party should also ensure that such acts are investigated promptly, thoroughly, independently and impartially, that perpetrators are prosecuted and punished with appropriate penalties, and that victims receive full reparation. It should also take effective measures to protect and safeguard the right of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, including by reviewing its criminal legislation.