US State Department 2004 Human Rights Report on El Salvador

The United States government issued its 2004 Human Rights Report this week. Here are the conclusions regarding El Salvador:
The Government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, there were significant problems in some areas. There were no politically motivated killings during the year; however, courts dropped charges from some 2003 cases. Some police officers used excessive force and mistreated detainees; at times police arbitrarily arrested and detained persons without adequate cause. Prison conditions remained poor, and overcrowding was a continuing problem. During the year, the Government took steps to improve prison conditions. Lengthy pretrial detention remained a problem. The judiciary remained generally inefficient and hampered by corruption, although the Supreme Court and the Attorney General's office (AG) took some steps during the year to address both inefficiency and corruption. Impunity for the rich and powerful remained a problem, as did violence and discrimination against women. Abuse of children, child labor, forced child prostitution, and trafficking in women and children remained problems, as did discrimination against disabled persons. The Government took steps to provide adequate protection of workers rights.

The Washington Office on Latin America, a progressive organization promoting human rights, democracy and social justice in Latin America, called the 2004 Human Rights Reports on Latin America "useful and generally impartial," but commented that
U.S. government support for the Central America Free Trade Agreement, known as CAFTA, may explain the light touch on labor law violations. The Central America reports consistently minimize serious deficiencies in the region’s labor laws, and barely mention major worker rights cases.