El Salvador: Police Abuses in Covid-19 Response

Originally published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) on 15/04/2020


In accordance with Humans Rights Wach, El Salvador’s police have arbitrarily arrested hundreds of people in the name of enforcing restrictions to prevent the transmission of Covid-19.President Bukele have encouraged extreme use of force to make sure the measures imposed are fulffiled. Hundreds of detainees have been held in overcrowded, unhygienic conditions that threaten their health, and one man died on April 1, 2020 after not receiving appropriate health care.On March 21, Bukele announced, on a nationwide broadcast, the adoption of a decree that established a 30-day nationwide mandatory lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. The decree, published in the Official Gazette on the night of March 22, allowed only one person per family out at a time to shop for food or medicine. It made exceptions for public officials, doctors, journalists, food distributors, military and police officials, and highway, energy, bank, and restaurant workers.The decree provided that violations will be sanctioned with helding in a “containment center”to be decided if the person would be held in a mandatory quarantine facility or sent to home quarantine.According to the Ombudsperson’s Office, dozens of people were forced to sleep in parking lots at police stations. Detainees held in police stations said they were held all day without food or water in unhygienic conditions.Arresting people for violating quarantine rules may increase disease transmission if authorities place people in crowded containment facilities where the virus could spread easily, Human Rights Watch said.

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