Human rights reports

A new government has assumed power in El Salvador, and there are new leaders in the Ministry of Justice and Security, the Ministry of Defense, and the National Civilian Police.  Those new leaders would be well served to review what independent observers have said recently about the current state of human rights observance in El Salvador.

From the Executive Summary of the US State Department Annual Human Rights Report for El Salvador 2018:
Civilian authorities failed at times to maintain effective control over security forces. 
Human rights issues included allegations of unlawful killings of suspected gang members and others by security forces; forced disappearances by military personnel; torture by security forces; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; lack of government respect for judicial independence; widespread government corruption; violence against women and girls that was infrequently addressed by the authorities, as well as security force violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex individuals; and children engaged in the worst forms of child labor. 
Impunity persisted despite government steps to dismiss and prosecute some in the security forces, executive branch, and justice system who committed abuses.
The Human Rights Institute at the University of Central America wrote the following in its 2018 Human Rights Report:
Although the State insists on its fidelity to Human Rights, the data we review show us a situation in which the shadows are much greater than the light. While subsidies to the poor are confused with social justice, violence, inequality and poverty remain as serious problems. The judicial system continues to systematically mistreat the poorest and disrespect international human rights standards. The Legislative Assembly has a clear tendency to back down on basic and fundamental rights. The state of health and education are part not only of the evidence of social injustice, but authentic mechanisms of perpetuation of unjust inequality. 
The right to life ... is easily violated without the State being able to adequately protect it. A typical case was the death by firearms of a street vendor, as well as several wounded, caused by municipal agents of Santa Tecla when they repressed a demonstration. The fact that firearms are used by a non-specialized body and that the local mayor practically justified the homicide has not had major political consequences. 
We do not yet have a law protecting human rights advocates, although there are two bills that touch on the issue in the Legislative Assembly. In fact, human rights advocates have been attacked in different ways, especially those that defend women's rights, in defense of water or ecology. A special case has been the aggression against advocates of rights in Tacuzcalco, linked simultaneously to the indigenous culture, to cultural heritage and to ecology. 
Finally, from the SSPAS Report on Human Rights Violations 2018
In a highly violent context, as Salvadoran society has seen for decades, the use of force by the State must be an element constantly observed and immediately corrected. However, as of 2015, high officials of the current government, who are those mainly responsible for warning about the need to monitor and correct any abuse of force, were the ones who gave support to the primary cases where police officers were involved in armed confrontations with alleged gang members, and where legitimate defense was alleged prior to any in-depth investigation of the events. As previously noted, the number of policemen charged for various crimes against life, integrity and freedom, increased significantly from 2016, however, this did not alarm the National Civil Police, or its internal control units, such as the Internal Affairs Unit, nor did it activate the General Inspectorate of Public Security (IGSP), which has been systematically weakened in budget, human resources and capacity to exert autonomy as an external control mechanism.
Governments of El Salvador will pay lip service to the concepts of human rights, but as all three reports point out, the actually reality of what is practiced on the ground is much different.   New president Nayib Bukele is cleaning house this week firing public officials who have their jobs through nepotism or corruption.  He should also take steps to remove those persons who have failed to respect human rights standards.  For too long, violating human rights has not disqualified anyone from having a government post in El Salvador.