October 28, 2020

Salvadoran deputies agree to vote law for victims of displacement



A committee of deputies of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador agreed on Monday to vote in the plenary session of this State body an initiative to protect the victims of forced displacement generated by violence.

The agreement to issue the “favorable opinion”, which allows the proposal to be voted for approval or submission to the archive, was taken by the members of the Legislation Commission.

LAW ORDERED BY SUPREME

This agreement comes almost a year and a half after the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice recognized the phenomenon and ordered Congress to issue a special law.

This sentence was given in response to a request for amparo from a family of 33 people who had to move from the central town of Ciudad Delgado because of death threats and harassment by the Barrio 18 gang because 2 of the victims were soldiers.

In one of these attacks, a woman and a 12-year-old girl were raped, so they decided to flee to the eastern town of Berlin, where they were harassed by security forces and the police murdered the woman who was sexually abused.

It is expected that the Special Law for the Comprehensive Care and Protection of Persons in Condition of Internal Forced Displacement will be voted on Thursday, January 9 at the weekly session of the Congress.

The right-wing deputy of the Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena) René Portillo Cuadra said that this special law had to be issued due to the “inability of the State” to protect citizens.

“It seems that violence has won the game to the State, because when the State is not able to guarantee their belongings, their home and their security to Salvadoran families, then the option is to leave,” Portillo told reporters.

He added that “for decades the State had not wanted to recognize that there was forced internal displacement” because of the violence.

UNCERTAIN FINANCING

Mario Tenorio, legislator of the official Grand Alliance for National Unity (WINS), said that it will be the Government that will decide the amount allocated for the protection programs stipulated in the law.

He said that the law will come into effect “immediately” and that its financing “could be done through a subsequent” budget reinforcement, given that the state budget was approved in 2019.

“In the budget next year will be required by law to be incorporated,” the funds, Tenorio added.

NO PARTICIPATION OF OMBUDSMAN

On the other hand, the GANA legislator pointed out that the deputies decided to exclude the Attorney General’s Office for the Defense of Human Rights (PDDH) from the protection structure for victims due to the “circumstances and operation itself” of the institution.

Tenorio, who did not go into detail on this point, added that “we believe that the law will be much more efficient” without the inclusion of the PDDH in its operation.

Even before the issuance of the ruling of the constitutional judges, the PDDH was the only state institution that recognized the phenomenon and collaborated with civil society organizations in its attention.

These non-governmental organizations expect the Government to recognize forced displacement with a statement from the president and not from a lower ranking official.

The criminal violence experienced by El Salvador forced more than 235,700 people to forcefully move during 2018, according to a national survey of the Jesuit Central American University (UCA).

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