El Salvador’s Congress approved on Wednesday a 30-day extension of an exception regime with which the government of Nayib Bukele fights gangs and leaves more than 67,000 alleged members of these groups detained.
The decree approved by 67 deputies of the unicameral Congress, dominated by allies of the president, established that “the regime of exception is extended throughout the national territory”.
The new extension of the emergency regime – thirteenth – will be in force between April 17 and May 16.
The emergency regime, which allows arrests without warrants, was introduced in response to an escalation of homicides that claimed the lives of 87 people from March 25 to 27, 2022.
The measure has been questioned by different humanitarian organizations for allegedly violating people’s rights.
On April 6, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) called on “the State of El Salvador to reestablish the full validity of the rights and guarantees suspended” by the emergency regime.
“The IACHR urges the State to respect human rights in the adoption of measures for the prevention, control and response to crime,” the IACHR said in a statement.
Other organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) have suggested in previous months that the Salvadoran government “remove” the exception regime and replace it with a “sustainable strategy that respects human rights,” but the answer has always been “no” from President Bukele.
This Wednesday, before the extension of the exception regime was approved by the deputies, the Minister of Justice and Security, Gustavo Villatoro, assured that under the exception regime “more than 67,000” people, alleged gang members, have been detained.
In passing, Villatoro criticized international humanitarian organizations that have asked the government to put an end to the exception regime.
“They are international organizations that defend the human rights of criminals who threaten society and the state,” said the Minister of Justice and Security.
A survey at the end of March by the Jesuit Central American University (UCA), indicated that 85.7% of Salvadorans feel safe with the exception regime, which has been in effect for more than a year.