What We Do

Victim Advocacy


Why It Matters

The Northern Triangle of Central America—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—is the most violent region in the world. El Salvador is the most violent country in the world not at war, and yet for families affected by this violence there are few if any in-country protection options. As families, often single mothers and children, flee gang-controlled territories under threat of extortion, rape, and death, they are forced from home to home until they ultimately seek protection abroad. An estimated 566,700 people were internally displaced in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in 2014 alone. This phenomenon in turn 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 regularly advocates on both the regional and global stage with policy and decision-makers 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 collectively defend the rights of those displaced by violence in the Northern Triangle. 


Our legal assist with emblematic cases. These actions help establish legal protection mechanisms for thousands of victims, and strengthen national institutions responsible for citizen security. 



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


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. 



After more than three decades of impunity, a Salvadoran judge called 20 soldiers accused of participating in the massacre of El Mezote to appear in court on March 29th and 30th, 2017 to hear the case against them on. 

Cristosal’s David Morales, the former Salvadoran Human Rights Ombudsman, is part of the legal team seeking justice for victims and their families.

The significance of the case goes beyond addressing the atrocities of the past. Cristosal hopes it will strengthen the Salvadoran justice system and contribute to the transformation of a historic culture of impunity to one of accountability for 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.