The high levels of violence and crime in El Salvador have caused tens of
thousands of victims in recent years. Despite the purposes of the most recent
security plans and policies, the Salvadoran government, has not had the
capacity to create programs catered, specifically to the victims of criminal
violence efficiently and effectively, until today.
The victims of criminal violence and human rights violations in El Salvador
have suffered from the exclusion and abandonment of the Salvadoran state
historically. The options to face the violence they suffer, especially the most
impoverished sectors of the population, have depended on the help of their own
family or social networks of support. Therefore, it is not surprising that they
frequently resort to the option of irregular migration, especially to the
United States of America, since the State institutions in general do not
provide assistance, care or protection mechanisms, even at the level of
humanitarian aid. or psychosocial accompaniment.
Although Salvadoran mass migration responds to diverse and structural
causes, it is very likely that violence and crime now become a new expulsion
factor that fuels irregular migration, based on the analysis of the statistics
of recipient countries. . The rise in requests for refuge or international
protection, by Salvadorans abroad, is an indicator that supports this hypothesis.
Internally, those who do not have the economic capacity to undertake the
transit of international migration, increasingly seek options for internal
displacement, under the difficult conditions that have led to the expansion of
the activity of criminal structures, especially gangs, in El Salvador .
The refusal of the Salvadoran State to officially recognize the existence
of forced displacement caused by violence limits its possibilities to
prioritize humanitarian assistance measures for many affected individuals and
families; in addition, it impedes the taking of pertinent decisions to
disaggregate information in public institutions, which are required by
displaced families to access elementary public services, such as health and
education.Very probably these families in internal forced displacement because
of the violence, will feed at some point the already massive channel of
irregular migration, without leaving any record in the official institutions.
The generation of disaggregated information on the probable condition of a
person or family in displacement due to violence is one of the most relevant
challenges to address this problem. Despite this, it is still possible to
approach official information from various institutions, derived from the
requirements of basic public services or assistance that people in high
vulnerability due to their displacement status have requested from them. For
these reasons, the list of available information on migration – requests for
international protection – violence and other requests for humanitarian aid
services in public institutions is particularly relevant to approach the
phenomenon of forced displacement due to violence in El Salvador. The above,
given the specific official information scenario that has been described.
The Civil Society Board against forced displacement due to violence and
organized crime in El Salvador is made up of the following organizations:
American Friends ervice Committee, Salvadoran Red Cross, Fundacion de Estudios
para la Aplicacion del Derecho, Fundacion Cristosal, Fundacion Quetzalcoatl,
Grupo de Independent Monitoring of El Salvador, Anglican Church of El Salvador,
Institutio de Derechos HUmanos of the Central American University “Jose
Simeon Canas” Pastoral Care for the MIgrante of the Network of
Missionaries of San Carlos Scalabriano, Network for Migrations – El Savlador,
Service Social Passionist, Ludo Salvadoreno Synod, Save the CHildren and
Universidad Tecnologica de El Salvador.
The MESA was formed in response to the increase in cases received in the
various organizations, individuals or families seeking humanitarian support for
serious harm to their integrity or safety due to violence, who reported not
finding answers from the state institutions to their situation.
Facing the Salvadoran state, it continues without officially recognizing
the problem of internal forced displacement due to violence in El Salvador.
This position of denial makes it difficult to design and implement public
policies and specialized programs for the care of victims of criminal violence,
caused mainly by gang groups or other organized crime groups.
The lack or insufficiency of integral programs of protection and attention
of victims of violence in general and of victims in displacement condition in
particular, is a reality that has motivated the organizations of the MESA to
get involved in favor of these and to demand a greater attention to them, in
order to promote actions that allow them to find durable solutions to the
serious damage they have suffered because of the crimes they have had to
In this report, the figures reported by the observatory of the MESA of
Civil Society are presented, they do not represent all the cases that occurred
in the country in 2016, but a representative sample, constituted only by the
cases that received accompaniment by the organizations that make up the the
Mesa, within the limitation of its resources. Therefore, the figures are an
approximation that allows to conclude the existence of the phenomenon of forced
displacement in El Salvador, being pertinent to consider that the real number
of cases of displacement occurred in the country is much higher.
human rights treaties, of which El Salvador is a member, oblige it to undertake
actions aimed at the prevention of violence, as well as the protection and
assistance of the victims of the general criminal violence, especially that
caused by structures of violence.