El Salvador

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CountryEl Salvador
Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict, on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, on a Communication Procedure
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is legal in the home, alternative care settings and day care.
Overview of the child rights situation

El Salvador has a huge problem with violence ensuing from street gangs but also from family members. In addition, women are commonly seen as personal property and sexual objects by a patriarchal society. This also affects girls who take on household chores and sexual services and are often abused at a very young age. In the Concluding Observations, certain points are elaborated on, while others are only touched on briefly.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee urges the State party to strengthen its efforts to eliminate discrimination against girls, particularly regarding their access to education and to sexual and reproductive health services, and in relation to sexual violence, civil unions and teenage pregnancy. Furthermore, it is deeply concerned about the vulnerability of girls, aged from 12 years onwards, known as “brides”, to being targeted by street gangs for sexual purposes.

Racism, children belonging to a minority and indigenous childrenThe Committee recommends that the State party strengthen its measures to promote quality education for indigenous children, including intercultural and bilingual education, and to improve their standard of health, and to eliminate food insecurity and poverty, with the full and effective participation of indigenous children.
Situation of children with disabilities

While welcoming the measures taken by the State party regarding the health and education of and data collection on children with disabilities, the Committee recommends to continue to invest in measures to ensure that children with disabilities have access to health care, including early detection and intervention programmes, and inclusive education. In addition to that, the Committee recommends to develop awareness-raising programmes, with the participation of children with disabilities, aimed at health and educational professionals, the public and families, to combat the stigmatization of and prejudice against children with disabilities, and to promote a positive image of those children.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee welcomes the creation of the comprehensive migrant care centre and the child, adolescent and family care centres. To further improve the situation, the Committee recommends to improve access to care centres and shelters and step-up measures to expand family-based alternative care for unaccompanied children who have returned or been deported.
Free kindergartenNot clear
Free primary and secondary schoolNot clear
Digital possibilitiesThe Committee recommends to strengthen awareness-raising programmes for children, parents and teachers on Internet safety, particularly regarding cyberbullying and stalking by adults for sexual purposes.
physical health

El Salvador should strengthen the measures taken to continue decreasing health costs, including the cost of medicines, and increase the availability of vaccines without compromising quality. In the departments of Chalatenango, Santa Ana, La Libertad and Usulután, the rate of preventable deaths of new-borns and children under 5 years of age is significantly higher.

Relation to other countries
mental health

The Committee recommends that the State party develop comprehensive awareness-raising programmes on the harmful effects of civil unions involving girls on their physical and mental health and well-being. These actions should target girls and boys, families, health and education professionals and judges.
Also, the Committee is concerned about inadequacy of mental health services for pregnant teenagers and teenage mothers, with suicide being the most common cause of death among teenage mothers.

Business sector

The Committee notes the consistently high number of children involved in child labour, despite efforts towards its reduction, and recommends that the State party strengthen its measures to combat the economic exploitation of children, especially in rural areas, and in particular girls working in domestic service and boys working in agriculture and commerce.

Situation of juvenile justice

El Salvador should take the measures necessary to establish a specialized juvenile criminal justice system in accordance with the law, encompassing non-custodial measures such as diversion, mediation and counselling. Also, education and vocational training in juvenile detention facilities need to be improved.

Specific observations

The Committee is deeply concerned about the very high number of killings, with 4,094 recorded between 2010 and 2017, mostly affecting boys, and by the insufficient information provided by the State party on the investigations and prosecutions conducted. To reduce the number, the Committee urges the State Party to urgently step up its efforts to eliminate the availability of arms, including small arms.

Also, the Committee urges El Salvador to promote and protect the right of children to freedom of association and peaceful assembly and to ensure that, in the current climate of violence, law enforcement officials and other professionals are trained adequately to respect those rights.

Additional BackgroundConcluding observations on the fifth and sixth periodic reports released on 29. November 2018.
Last Updated (date)22nd of February, 2022