• Urgent Action


May 9, 2022

On March 27, 2022, El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly approved a state of emergency in response to reports of a spike in gang-related homicides. Since that time, more than 25,000 people have reportedly been arrested, and the human rights of the population are gravely under threat. Amnesty International calls on President Nayib Bukele to take all necessary measures to put an immediate end to human rights violations occurring in the context of the state of emergency, and to design public security strategies that guarantee fundamental rights.

  1. Please take action as-soon-as possible. This Urgent Action expires on May 25, 2022.
  2. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  3. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 41.22. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.
President Nayib Bukele Email: [email protected] Twitter: @nayibbukele
Ambassador Milena Mayorga Embassy of the Republic of El Salvador 1400 16th St NW Suite 100, Washington, DC 20036 Phone: (202) 595-7500 / Fax: (202) 232-3763 Email: [email protected] ; [email protected] Twitter: @MilenaMayorga Salutation: Dear Ambassador

SAMPLE LETTER Dear President Bukele, I am writing to express alarm regarding the human rights situation currently unfolding in El Salvador. The state of emergency and related measures have brought with them a whole host of human rights violations, and it is your responsibility to act to restore human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country. Most notably, I am concerned that:
  1. The legal reforms approved since the start of the state of emergency threaten human rights and do not comply with international standards. It is distressing to see that the emergency decree suspends fundamental freedoms, such as the right to legal defence. In addition to this, other legal reforms, such as the elimination of maximum time periods for pre-trial detention and the approval of trials without the presence of the accused, are contrary to international law.
  2. There have been widespread reports of arbitrary detentions and concerns regarding ill treatment of people detained, including deaths, while in custody. I find it alarming to learn of reports of ill treatment of detainees by security forces, with at least five people having allegedly died while in custody. Your own statements regarding limiting food and fresh air for prisoners are also serious cause for concern. Further to this, local organizations have identified incidents where people are being detained for having tattoos or merely being present in areas where gang members traditionally operate. Hundreds of reports of arbitrary detentions have been made.
  3. Journalists, human rights defenders and judicial actors are under attack in the country. Recent legal reforms threaten the ability of journalists to report on gang-related activity without being subject to prosecution. Instead of celebrating their work to uphold human rights in El Salvador, it is disturbing to see that your government has stigmatized and harassed journalists and human rights defenders. Moreover, judges and defence lawyers appear to be under increased scrutiny.
The human rights context in El Salvador that your government has created is appalling and I urge you to immediately change course. Public security strategies are important but must guarantee fundamental human rights. I therefore call on you to:
  1. Repeal or amend all legal reforms that do not comply with international law and standards;
  2. Guarantee the rights of prisoners to due process and fair treatment;
  3. Stop the stigmatization of civil society, the press and judicial actors, and ensure that these individuals can perform their work without reprisals.