San Salvador, Sep 8 (EFE) .- El Salvador registered the forced displacement of at least 18 families due to violence during the mandatory home quarantine period imposed by the Government for the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from the humanitarian organization Cristosal released this Tuesday.
El Salvador remained in almost absolute confinement between March 21 and mid-July, which was not sustained due to the lack of agreements between the Government and the Legislative Assembly.
Rina Montti, director of the Human Rights Monitoring System of the aforementioned organization, pointed out that so far in 2020 Cristosal has registered the displacement of 30 families.
“Even in a situation in which all the people should have been in lockdown, the criminal acts had not stopped,” said the expert, adding that some of these cases were dealt with by state authorities, such as the Attorney General’s Office (PGR ) and the Institute for the Development of Women (Isdemu).
He explained that the main violent acts that force families to flee their homes are threats, attempted homicides, homicides of family members and extortion.
He regretted that the COVID-19 pandemic forced the social organizations that help with the attention of this phenomenon to distance themselves from the communities, so that the places where they could find help decreased.
El Salvador’s Congress approved last January a law for the protection and restitution of rights for people displaced by violence, mainly gang violence.
The approval of this special legislation, which had 82 votes from the 84 deputies, came after a ruling by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) in 2018.
Montti stressed that the situation “once again demonstrates the importance of not only having a law, but also that it be operated” with protocols and a budget “sufficient to comprehensively support families” with humanitarian assistance and protection measures.
Despite the existence of the law, the only official data currently available is that 1.1% of the Salvadoran population “has been forced to displace” between 2006 and 2016, a percentage that represents more than 70,000 people.
This figure was given in statements to the press by the head of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the country, Elisa Carlaccini, in November 2018.
On the other hand, a survey by the Jesuit Central American University (UCA) estimates that 5.2% of the adult population of El Salvador was displaced by violence in 2018. This figure is equivalent to more than 235,700 people.
Gangs are, according to studies, the main generator of forced displacement in areas controlled and followed by state security forces.
(c) EFE Agency