OnTuesday, October 31st, in commemoration of National Human Rights Defender Day, the Roundtable on the Right to Defend Human Rights held a press conference to expose the situation faced by defenders working for the construction of a just, equitable and solidary society through compliance with human rights in El Salvador. Participants included the Salvadoran Network of Women Human Rights Defenders and the Feminist Collective for Local Development, among others.
Spokeswomen reported that defenders in El Salvador work in a high-risk situation marked by threats, criminalization, intimidation, discrimination, smear campaigns and, in the worst case, death. There is no legal or institutional framework that recognizes, protects and guarantees respect for the right to defend human rights without putting defenders at risk of threats to their lives and to the physical and mental integrity of themselves and their famílies.
The Roundtable on the Right to Defend Human Rights is made up of several different organizations and individual rights defenders who, for the last year have been fostering actions for the comprehensive protection of human rights defenders in the country; they work from a legal perspective that guarantees recognition of defenders’ work and their right to defend rights. In the same vein, one of their actions has been to draft, propose and promote a preliminary bill to ensure the recognition and comprehensive protection of those who defend rights.
This bill, which is based on a study comparing legal frameworks and protection mechanisms in other countries, is a collective project centered on defenders and their right to defend human rights with a comprehensive, gender-based perspective.