What We Do

Victim Advocacy


Why It Matters

El Salvador is the most violent country in the world not at war. As a whole, the Northern Triangle of Central America—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—is the most violent region in the world. Families, often single mothers and children, flee gang-controlled territories under threat of extortion, rape, and death. They are forced from home to home. Many ultimately seek protection abroad. An estimated 244,200 people were internally displaced in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in 2016 alone. This phenomenon is driving irregular migration both to the north through Mexico to the United States, and increasingly to the south to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama.

What We Do


There are few, if any, protection options in El Salvador for families fleeing violence. Cristosal advocates on the regional and global stage to include protections for victims displaced by violence and support for democratic institutions as key elements of a long-term peace strategy in the Northern Triangle. We also engage with state, non-profit, academic, and civil society actors to defend the rights of those displaced by violence in the Northern Triangle.


Our legal team assists with emblematic cases that establish legal precedents for justice. These cases set legal standards that benefit thousands of victims. They also strengthen national institutions responsible for citizen security.



Cristosal founded and coordinates the leading national body in El Salvador advocating for the rights of people forcibly displaced by violence, the Civil Society Working Group Against Forced Displacement by Violence. This group operates and contributes to the largest database of cases of forced displacement, and regularly publishes reports and policy recommendations for civil society and state organizations.


Our Impact in 2015



Children received assistance from Cristosal and its partners including legal assistance, and/or comprehensive case documentation. 



Documented cases of forced displacement in one year by Cristosal and partner organizations, 53% of which were women and girls fleeing violence. 



Salvadorans internally displaced by violence annually with increased access to both national and regional protections thanks to the advocacy of Cristosal and its partners. 



In December of 1981, more than 1,000 civilians were massacred in the village of El Mozote. A post-war amnesty law prevented this case from going to trial for more than two decades. The law was recently overturned by the Salvadoran Supreme Court, and on March 29th and 30th of 2017, a Salvadoran judge called twenty soldiers accused of participating in the massacre of El Mozote to appear in court. Cristosal’s Davíd Morales, the former Salvadoran Human Rights Ombudsman, is part of the three-person legal team seeking justice for victims and their families.


The significance of this case goes beyond addressing the atrocities of the past. This work will contribute to transforming the pervasive assumption that victims don’t matter into an attitude of accountability that will benefit present-day victims of violence.

Make a difference today

Cristosal depends on your donation to continue improving conditions for thousands of families in Central America. Help us protect those who need it most.