The high levels of violence and crime in El Salvador have caused tens ofthousands of victims in recent years. Despite the purposes of the most recentsecurity plans and policies, the Salvadoran government, has not had thecapacity to create programs catered, specifically to the victims of criminalviolence efficiently and effectively, until today.The victims of criminal violence and human rights violations in El Salvadorhave suffered from the exclusion and abandonment of the Salvadoran statehistorically. The options to face the violence they suffer, especially the mostimpoverished sectors of the population, have depended on the help of their ownfamily or social networks of support. Therefore, it is not surprising that theyfrequently resort to the option of irregular migration, especially to theUnited States of America, since the State institutions in general do notprovide assistance, care or protection mechanisms, even at the level ofhumanitarian aid.
or psychosocial accompaniment.Although Salvadoran mass migration responds to diverse and structuralcauses, it is very likely that violence and crime now become a new expulsionfactor that fuels irregular migration, based on the analysis of the statisticsof recipient countries. . The rise in requests for refuge or internationalprotection, by Salvadorans abroad, is an indicator that supports this hypothesis.
Internally, those who do not have the economic capacity to undertake thetransit of international migration, increasingly seek options for internaldisplacement, under the difficult conditions that have led to the expansion ofthe activity of criminal structures, especially gangs, in El Salvador .The refusal of the Salvadoran State to officially recognize the existenceof forced displacement caused by violence limits its possibilities toprioritize humanitarian assistance measures for many affected individuals andfamilies; in addition, it impedes the taking of pertinent decisions todisaggregate information in public institutions, which are required bydisplaced families to access elementary public services, such as health andeducation.Very probably these families in internal forced displacement becauseof the violence, will feed at some point the already massive channel ofirregular migration, without leaving any record in the official institutions.The generation of disaggregated information on the probable condition of aperson or family in displacement due to violence is one of the most relevantchallenges to address this problem. Despite this, it is still possible toapproach official information from various institutions, derived from therequirements of basic public services or assistance that people in highvulnerability due to their displacement status have requested from them. Forthese reasons, the list of available information on migration – requests forinternational protection – violence and other requests for humanitarian aidservices in public institutions is particularly relevant to approach thephenomenon 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 andorganized crime in El Salvador is made up of the following organizations:American Friends ervice Committee, Salvadoran Red Cross, Fundacion de Estudiospara 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 “JoseSimeon Canas” Pastoral Care for the MIgrante of the Network ofMissionaries of San Carlos Scalabriano, Network for Migrations – El Savlador,Service Social Passionist, Ludo Salvadoreno Synod, Save the CHildren andUniversidad Tecnologica de El Salvador.The MESA was formed in response to the increase in cases received in thevarious organizations, individuals or families seeking humanitarian support forserious harm to their integrity or safety due to violence, who reported notfinding answers from the state institutions to their situation.Facing the Salvadoran state, it continues without officially recognizingthe problem of internal forced displacement due to violence in El Salvador.This position of denial makes it difficult to design and implement publicpolicies 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 attentionof victims of violence in general and of victims in displacement condition inparticular, is a reality that has motivated the organizations of the MESA toget involved in favor of these and to demand a greater attention to them, inorder to promote actions that allow them to find durable solutions to theserious damage they have suffered because of the crimes they have had toexperience.In this report, the figures reported by the observatory of the MESA ofCivil Society are presented, they do not represent all the cases that occurredin the country in 2016, but a representative sample, constituted only by thecases that received accompaniment by the organizations that make up the theMesa, within the limitation of its resources. Therefore, the figures are anapproximation that allows to conclude the existence of the phenomenon of forceddisplacement in El Salvador, being pertinent to consider that the real numberof cases of displacement occurred in the country is much higher.The internationalhuman rights treaties, of which El Salvador is a member, oblige it to undertakeactions aimed at the prevention of violence, as well as the protection andassistance of the victims of the general criminal violence, especially thatcaused by structures of violence.