El Salvador

Prepared by civil society, the law is comprehensive and aligns with all elements in the Model Law, going further in some cases. The protection mechanism is comprehensive. It never left the parliament floor nor was properly discussed.

Record n.° 342-9-2018-1. Law initiative for the recognition and integral protection of human rights defenders and to guarantee the right to defend human rights

Type of instrument: Law and Protection Mechanism
Status: (as of 1 January 2022)
Not adopted; Submitted on 6 September 2018; Archived by Congress on 19 May 2021.

Comments on the instrument:
The draft law, prepared by civil society, is comprehensive and aligns with all elements in the Model Law. It also extends many elements and includes guiding principles to assist with interpretation and implementation. The Protection Mechanism established by the draft law is comprehensive and appears to have enough functions and capabilities to serve human rights defenders. However, the law never left the parliament floor nor was properly discussed. Some civil society that participated in the drafting considered the archival to be ‘an act of disrespect and disregard of [their] efforts, showing that the current parliament did not care for human rights’.

Does the instrument contain specific provisions easily used to restrict human rights defenders’ rights?
No

 


Comparison to the Model Law

Below is a short summary of the instrument as compared to the Model Law. For additional information and analysis by ISHR on El Salvador, click here.

A selection of fundamental rights for human rights defenders incorporated in the instrument:

Provision

Covered?

Analysis / articles

Definition of Human Rights Defender

FULL

2

Right to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms

FULL

1(a), 4

Right to Form Groups, Associations, and Organisations

FULL

5

Right to Solicit, Receive and Utilise Resources

FULL

6

Right to freedom of expression and to seek, receive and disseminate Information

FULL

7, 9, 20

Right to access and cooperate with NGOs, government organisations and international organisations

FULL

8

Right to participate in public affairs

FULL

10

Right to Peaceful Assembly

FULL

11

Right to represent and advocate

FULL

12

Right to freedom of movement

FULL

13

Right to Privacy

FULL

14, 21

Freedom from intimidation or reprisal

FULL

15

Freedom from defamation and stigmatisation

FULL

16, 19(f), 33

State obligations regarding human rights defenders in the instrument?

Obligation to respect, promote, protect and fulfil rights of human rights defenders

FULL

18, 35

Obligation to facilitate the activities and work of human rights defenders 

FULL

19, 20

Obligation to prevent and to ensure protection against arbitrary or unlawful intrusion, interference, and intimidation or reprisal

FULL

22, 23

Obligation to investigate, provide an effective remedy and ensure reparation

FULL

17, 24-31

Mechanism on the protection of human rights defenders established in the instrument?
Yes, in Title IV, articles 36 and subsequent.

Provision

Covered?

Articles

Cooperation with human rights defenders, civil society, and national and international human rights bodies

FULL

36, 37, 48(i,j)

Training of mechanism’s personnel on human rights and fundamental freedoms

FULL

39-41, 47, 60

Periodic reviews with independent experts and CSOs on the functioning of the Mechanism

PART

1(f), 42(f,g), 48(k,q,w)

Resources for adequate functioning of the Mechanism / transparency on resource usage 

FULL

38, 48(v), 61-63

Public acknowledgement of human rights defenders’ work and rights (promotion of UN Declaration)

FULL

19(c,d), 32, 37(d), 42(b), 48(d,p)

Disseminate information on protection programmes for human rights defenders, Mechanism’s work

FULL

37(e), 48(o)

Development of protocols and guidelines based on best practices to protect human rights defenders

FULL

42(g), 48(d,i,n), 50, 63(d)

Assist investigations for prosecuting offences against human rights defenders

PART

37(c),48(l,m)

Granting of protective measures based off a specific risk assessment

FULL

19(e), 34, 37(a,b,f), 42(c,d), 47, 48(a,b,c,e,f,g,h), 49, 50

Review / appeal of Mechanism decision before courts or independent authority

PART 

42(e), 57-59

Confidentiality and personal data protection

FULL

14, 47

Actions to achieve structural changes (annual reports on the situation of human rights defenders, advising government on laws and policies related to human rights defenders) 

FULL

37(g), 42(f,g,h), 48(k,t,u)

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General law initiative