El Salvador: Homicide Rate Drops but Emergency Regime Continues

El Salvador registers a homicide rate of 2.3 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the Police. Although this is read by the Government as an achievement, the emergency regime remains in place after already accumulating 72,600 detainees .

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Leer en español: El Salvador: Baja la tasa de homicidios pero sigue el régimen de excepción

El Salvador registers a homicide rate of between 2.3 and 2.4 per 100,000 inhabitants, as revealed this Thursday by the head of the National Civil Police (PNC), Mauricio Arriaza Chicas, who also pointed out that this Central American country is a " international security reference".

"By reaching this level of rate per 100,000 inhabitants, we are saying that El Salvador is an international benchmark in terms of security (…) we are saying that we are the safest country in all of America, because that is how we are considering it," he said in statements shared by the Presidency.

Arriaza Chicas did not detail how many homicides have been recorded so far in 2023, but noted that "we are 452 days away without homicides so far in the 2019-2023 Presidential period."

The director of the PNC attributed the decrease in deaths to the government's Territorial Control plan and an emergency regime measure, implemented since March 2022 after a rise in homicides over a weekend and which seeks to combat gangs.

Read also: Nayib Bukele at the UN: "We Have Reaffirmed Our Legitimate Right to Govern Ourselves"

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele defended what has become his security policy before the UN General Assembly on Tuesday and said his government had suffered "systematic attacks" for decisions made on security matters.

Exception regime

The Legislative Assembly, with a large pro-government majority, recently approved the eighteenth extension of the emergency regime, with the justification that "the threat of a possible grouping" of gang structures persists.

According to official figures, this measure has left more than 72,600 people detained, whom the Government accuses of belonging to gangs, while humanitarian organizations report more than 5,000 "direct victims" of human rights violations, mainly for arbitrary arrests.

Of the more than 72,600 detainees, at least 7,000 have been released, as stated last August by the Minister of Security, Gustavo Villatoro.

El Salvador recorded 95 homicides between January and the beginning of last May, as stated at the time by official representative Rebeca Santos.

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