[Urgent Alert] EL SALVADOR / Commission of Justice and Human Rights of Legislative Assembly “files away” bill for recognition and holistic protection of human rights defenders.

On Wednesday May 19th, the Commission of Justice and Human Rights of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador decided to shelve the proposed “Law for the recognition and comprehensive protection of human rights defenders.”  This bill is the fruit of work carried on since 1917 by a wide variety of organizations and collectives that make up the Roundtable on the Right to Defend Rights, including the Salvadoran Network of Women Human Rights Defenders, the Feminist Collective for Local Development, the Ameyalli Association,  MOMUJEST, the Citizens’ Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion, and other organizations defending human rights in El Salvador. 

The refusal to consider this proposed law not only constitutes a lack of respect for the organizations that introduced it, but also represents a blow to the human rights agenda in the country by prolonging the situation of hostility and defenselessness in which human rights defenders carry on their work. 

Likewise, other legislative initiatives have been shelved that are highly relevant to the effective implementation of human rights in the country, including those related to the decriminalization of abortion on four grounds, and to the search for disappeared persons.  

We of IM-Defensoras and the Salvadoran Network of Women Defenders condemn the shelving of this proposed law and demand that the Commission of Justice and Human Rights of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador and the Salvadoran government reconsider their decision in recognition of the work of the organizations that have fostered the bill, and we further demand that the Commission and government  make a commitment to work with these organizations to guarantee that human rights defenders can continue their work with all due recognition in conditions of comprehensive protection in El Salvador. 

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