The National Civil Police caused displacement of six families

In some cases, state agents have acted in concert with gangs to threaten families.

On November 22nd, the PNC guarded a forcibly displaced family in Apopa while they removed their belongings from their home. There were no arrests. / DEM

On November 22nd, the PNC guarded a forcibly displaced family in Apopa while they removed their belongings from their home. There were no arrests. / DEM

According to Cristosal statistics, at least six cases of forced displacement this year were caused by state agents—specifically, the National Civil Police (PNC, from the Spanish Policía Nacional Civil)—in addition to the cases caused by gangs.

"Mainly, it’s harassment from police to a member of the family," says Celia Medrano, Chief Program Officer of the human rights organization Cristosal.

This is not the first time that the police organization has been mentioned as a cause of displacement.

Last year, a report from the Civil Society Bureau against forced displacement by violence reported that 16% of the cases were provoked by the PNC or by members of the Armed Forces.

"A police officer says that a young man in a family is a gang member, or is related to the gangs, or knows where the gang members are, and starts harassing the young man to tell them where the gang members are, or admit that he is a gang member, and then the situation continues," said Medrano.

Despite the fact that 50% of forced displacement victims do not report their situation, Medrano says there are families who have reported that police officers caused them to flee their home.

"There are families who do report to the police. The resolution from the Court was denounced by a member of the police, and that’s why they suffered reprisals," she says.

Medrano is referring to the resolution that the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court issued on October 6, which ordered the PNC and the Attorney General’s Office to issue protection measures in favor of said family.

According to the Civil Society Bureau, there are cases with multiple actors causing displacement. According to the Civil Society Bureau report, "On several occasions, they act jointly. There are families who do report to the police. The resolution from the Court was denounced by a member of the police, and that’s why they suffered reprisals.”

The report also notes that 7.3% of 2016 displacement cases were caused by extermination groups; this year, Cristosal has assisted two families who suffered threats from an extermination group.

 

Translated from Cornejo, I. (27 noviembre 2017). En algunos casos, los agentes del Estado han actuado en conjunto con las pandillas para amenazar familias. El Mundo. Retrieved from www.elmundo.sv/la-pnc-causo-desplazamientos-a-seis-familias.

Hannah Rose Nelson