Government provided four displaced families with shelter: Cristosal

This was accomplished in response to an order from the Supreme Court, which admitted two amparos filed by families displaced by violence. Cristosal has requested action in a fifth case.

Members of four families, who fled their homes because they were afraid of gang members, were placed in the victim assistance program coordinated by the Executive Technical Unit (UTE) of the government’s justice sector. The quotas were authorized last year, in response to an order from the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court. The court ordered protection for these four families only after they had been ignored by government institutions, Cristosal Litigation Coordinator Abraham Ábrego told La Prensa Grafica.

"After the Court’s order, the UTE began to create spaces for victims. But they didn’t start until now, after the victims had already requested assistance and nothing was done. The UTE said they did not have space in the shelters. So, the Court’s order directly involves the UTE," said Ábrego.

"The victims are not used to the structure of the victim assistance program (...) There is also no comprehensive attention in that program." Abraham Ábrego, Cristosal Litigation Coordinator

The litigation coordinator added that although it’s an achievement to have placed victims in the program, the way they are being served is not meeting victims’ needs.

According to Ábrego, the program has not been effective because not all the victims in a particular case are offered protection. Only those who can collaborate with a judicial process against gang members or other instigators of violence are served. Additionally, most of the victims who are placed in the program are not used to the structure of confinement to which they are subjected.

"The victim assistance program was designed, in general, for those who collaborate with the judicial system. That is, the program lasts for a maximum of two years or until the judicial process ends. During that time, some of the victims are confined in hostels," said the litigation coordinator. “This program does not have a psychological or mental health care component for the victims. The program needs to be improved."

Cristosal presented a fifth request for protection last Friday before the court, in hopes that they will order protective measures for another displaced family. In the four previous cases, according to Cristosal, the government institutions have already begun to comply with the measures ordered by the Constitutional Chamber.

146 cases of forced displacement were recorded by Cristosal in 2017.

Translated from Barrera, E. (January 16, 2018). UTE abrió espacios para cuatro familias desplazadas: Cristosal. La Prensa Grafica. Retrieved from www.laprensagrafica.com/elsalvador/UTE-abrio-espacios-para-cuatro-familias-desplazadas-Cristosal-20180115-0095.html

Hannah Rose Nelson