Salvadoran State Still Fails to Recognize Victims of Forced Displacement

In some cases, entire communities have had to abandon their homes to escape violence.

The Salvadoran State still does not formally recognize the phenomenon of internal forced displacement by violence. All the while, the problem is getting worse and victims are left unprotected, according to a statement from representatives of Cristosal and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) last Tuesday.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) has also demanded that the Salvadoran state recognize the problem, take steps to prevent it, and guarantee the rights of the victims.

In addition, the Court urged the country to generate necessary legislative measures to address the phenomenon.

Celia Medrano, Cristosal’s Chief Program Officer, shared her opinion that the current Salvadoran legislation does not allow for victims of forced displacement to be treated in the best way possible.

"It is necessary and urgent to work on public policies, specific programs, and legislation capable of comprehensively protecting victims of violence," she said.

Medrano described the country's position on the problem as "denialist.” She added that the lack of recognition results in the invisibility of the victims themselves, with no effective action from the state to protect them.

"Continuing to ignore this serious phenomenon implies a serious violation of human rights, victims’ rights," he said. The "invisibilization" of the phenomenon also means there is a lack of adequate records, they say, which is why Cristosal will start a center to monitor internal displacement, with the support of the IDMC.

Victims of the phenomenon sought protection

Between January and September of this year, Cristosal has directly assisted 394 people in 83 cases of forced displacement.

Among them are five cases where victims filed amparos (rights-based appeals) to the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court.

At the beginning of October, the Court admitted one of these amparos and ordered the government, specifically the police and the Attorney General's Office, to guarantee the protection of the petitioning family. Medrano said two more lawsuits have been admitted and protective measures have been ordered.

Translated from Oliva, X. G. (October 31, 2017). Estado salvadoreño sigue sin reconocer los desplazamientos forzados. Retrieved from

Hannah Rose Nelson