Bukele’s Human Rights Commissioner defends

The new commissioner for Human Rights of El Salvador, the Colombian lawyer Andrés Guzmán, defended this Friday the “extreme measures” that the government of Nayib Bukele has taken against the gangs, which reduced homicides but are in the crosshairs of humanitarian organizations.

Guzmán was appointed Wednesday by the Salvadoran president, who is leading a crusade to jail gang members amid a state of emergency that allows warrantless arrests.

“There is a state of exception and states of exception require exceptional measures,” Guzmán told Colombian radio station Blu Radio.

When questioned about the images of hundreds of prisoners crowded in prison, he added: “In all wars in the world there are usually deaths on one side and on the other, this is a war where a social phenomenon could be controlled with a state of exception.” .

“There is no country where there has been a war like the one that existed in El Salvador (…) in a process like this, extreme measures are required,” he added.

International organizations for the defense of human rights question the exceptional regime in force since March 2022 at the request of the executive.

The NGO Human Rights Watch has warned on multiple occasions about serious violations such as arbitrary arrests, forced disappearances and deaths in custody.

Since the measure began, at least 68,000 suspected gang members have been arrested, according to figures from the Ministry of Justice and Security.

“There are many people here who don’t know the neighborhood next door because they were afraid to leave their house (…) all that happened,” Guzmán also told RCN Radio.

The new commissioner for Human Rights of El Salvador, Andrés Guzmán.

The new commissioner for Human Rights of El Salvador, Andrés Guzmán.AFP

Despite international criticism and criticism from the Catholic Church, nine out of ten Salvadorans support government actions against gangs, according to surveys.

El Salvador went from 106.3 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2015 to 7.8 homicides in 2022, according to official figures.

Guzmán, a technology and communication specialist, also responded to questions about alleged persecution of media such as El Faro, whose administrative structure moved to Costa Rica on April 13 for “attacks on press freedom” in El Salvador.

“I am analyzing this case (…) There is no rule that prevents the dissemination of information, the freedom of any journalist has not been suspended or deprived,” he said this Friday on W Radio.

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