US Lawmakers call on Biden to Act Amid rise in allegations of human rights violations in El Salvador

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By LatAm Reports Editor

Eight members of the U.S. Congress, led by Ilhan Omar, sent a letter to the State Department to review their relationship with El Salvador in the face of “the increase in allegations of human rights violations” in the country.

The letter expresses its concern about the emergency regime, in force for almost two years, the independence of the judiciary; the “serious restrictions on freedom of expression and the media,” as well as the lack of investigation and accountability on the part of the Government, among other issues.

Congressmen also warn that the upcoming elections, where the current president, Nayib Bukele seeks re-election, “represent a significant break in El Salvador’s constitutional norms.”

“The Salvadoran Constitution is unequivocal in its prohibition of serving consecutive terms as president, and Bukele can only run because of a ruling issued by judges appointed by lawmakers of the ruling party,” the assembly members say in the letter.

“The Salvadoran people deserve free and fair elections, without fear of repression,” Ilhan Omar wrote on his X-s account (Twitter).

The letter clarifies that, while it is not for the U.S. government to “determine who is eligible to run for president in a foreign country, or choose the winners,” it can take action through its diplomatic influence to defend democratic values.

“We are alarmed that some of the State Department’s public messages about the election have been too gullible toward President Bukele’s re-election bid and his governance,” the letter reads.

Letter sent by U.S. congressmen for the Biden administration to rule on the increase in allegations of human rights violations in El Salvador. Picture: Rep. Ilhan Omar

Letter sent by U.S. congressmen for the Biden administration to rule on the increase in allegations of human rights violations in El Salvador. Picture: Rep. Ilhan Omar

The congressmen ask Secretary of State Antony Blinken for four specific points for the Biden administration to rule against human rights violations in El Salvador:

  • Send an unequivocal message on the importance of respecting constitutional and democratic norms to the Salvadoran government, both in public and in private;
  • Strongly denounce the excesses of the State of Emergency, including the human rights violations listed above;
  • Consider the establishment of mechanisms to allow for greater direct funding to Salvadoran civil society and the Salvadoran non-governmental partners examined, rather than providing funds through intermediaries or external partners in the case of bilateral assistance programmes;
  • Restrict security assistance and other support to the Salvadoran police and army in accordance with existing human rights laws.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in La Prensa Grafica