New Government, Ongoing Agenda: Human Rights, Corruption and Accountability in El Salvador
Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on human rights, corruption and efforts to ensure accountability in El Salvador.
On February 3, 2019, Nayib Bukele, a 37-year old former mayor of San Salvador and candidate of the Grand Alliance of National Unity (GANA) party, won El Salvador’s presidential election. He will assume the presidency on June 1. For more than a decade, the country Bukele will lead has had the lowest levels of growth and investment and the highest homicide rate in Central America. Gang-related violence is part of a broad spectrum of violence that often affects women and children; child abuse, spousal rape and femicide are major problems. Impunity for human rights abuses, including crimes against humanity committed during El Salvador’s 12-year internal armed conflict, persists and is deeply rooted.
Important advances in the fight against high-level corruption were achieved under the leadership of former Attorney General Douglas Melendez, but the legislature’s decision to deny him a second term has provoked concern about backtracking. Observers hope that new Attorney General Raul Melara will continue to advance cases against corruption, while also providing increased resources and focus on resolving past cases of human rights abuses and more recent cases involving extra-judicial killings by security forces and femicides.
Meanwhile, as of 2016, some 1.4 million people born in El Salvador resided in the United States, of whom nearly half are estimated to lack authorization. In 2017, remittances sent from Salvadorans abroad contributed close to 20% of El Salvador’s GDP, according to the World Bank.
Witnesses will examine the multiple dimensions of El Salvador’s human rights crisis, including the interaction among rights violations, criminality, corruption and impunity, and discuss measures needed to set the country on a different path.
The hearing will be open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. The hearing will be livestreamed via the Commission website, https://humanrightscommission.house.gov/news/watch-live, and will also be available for viewing on the House Digital Channel service. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton at 202-225-3599 or Kimberly.Stanton@mail.house.gov (for Co-Chair McGovern).
James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Rep. James P. McGovern, Co-Chair, TLHRC
Cristian Schlick Saldia, Legal Consultant,, Justice Processes Team, Institute of Human Rights of the Jesuit University of Central America (IDHUCA)
Noah F. Bullock, Executive Director, Foundation Cristosal
Dr. Christine J. Wade, Professor of Political Science and International Studies, Washington College
Jason Motlagh, Independent Journalist
Submitted for the Record
Jason Motlagh, Inside El Salvador's battle with violence, poverty, and U.S. policy (National Geographic, March 2019)
Statement from Washington Office on Latin America
Statement from Latin America Working Group Education Fund
Statement from Oxfam America
José Miguel Cruz, The Root Causes of the Central American Crisis (Current History, February 2015)