[WHRD Alert] EL SALVADOR / Agents arbitrarily detain mother of Gladys Ardón, President of Esperanza SV

On Wednesday, April 10th, María Ardón, the mother of human rights defender Gladys Ardón, was arbitrarily arrested at her place of work in the Tiendona market based on an alleged anonymous accusation. She was released several hours later thanks to a public complaint, accompaniment, and pressure exerted by human rights organizations and to various expressions of citizen indignation on social networks.

According to these groups, this arrest may well be an act of intimidation against Gladys Ardón motivated by her work as a defender of the human rights of the most vulnerable populations. Gladys is President of the organization Esperanza SV and ambassador of the “Our Voice, Our Future” campaign, which is promoted by the external action service of the European Union within the framework of the United Nations General Assembly. 

This detention follows other recent arrests of human rights defenders such as that of searching mother and defender Verónica Delgado, perpetrated in the context of the state of exception imposed on the country as of March of 2022, which allows State security forces and the system of justice to operate with absolute impunity and the use of arbitrary measures. Recent data published by Salvadoran organizations indicates that during the two years of the imposition of the state of exception, 6,305 denunciations of human rights violations have been registered, which are reflected in 16,289 actions or impacts.

We of IM-Defensoras condemn the arbitrary arrest of María Ardón and sound an alert regarding the intimidation of the essential work undertaken by her daughter and rights defender Gladys Ardón. 

We are concerned about the fact that, as was the case in May of 2023 with the arbitrary arrest of the son of rights defender Vidalina Morales, an effort is underway to attack women defenders and inhibit their work through acts of aggression against their family members. 

We demand guarantees for the right of women human rights defenders to carry on their work in El Salvador in conditions of security, free from allegations, acts of intimidation, arbitrary measures, and abuses made possible in the current state of exception. 

We call on the international community to join us in making these demands and to stay abreast of the situation in El Salvador.

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