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El Salvador: UN expert on internally displaced persons to conduct first official visit


GENEVA / SAN SALVADOR (10 August 2017) – United Nations human rights expert Cecilia Jimenez-Damary will conduct her first official visit to El Salvador from 14 to 18 August 2017, to assess the human rights situation of people forced to leave their homes due to factors including high levels of gang-related violence.

“Gangs in El Salvador use many forms of violence and criminality including murder, torture, rape, sexual exploitation, extortion, forced disappearances and threats, which leave people no option but to flee their homes,” said Ms. Jimenez-Damary, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons.

“This visit provides an important and timely opportunity for me to engage with the Government of El Salvador and others on the challenges they face and to consider legal, policy and other practical measures required to respond effectively to displacement, including the provision of essential protection for those affected,” said the expert, who will visit San Salvador and other areas of the country.

Estimates suggest that tens of thousands of people may have been displaced by violence in El Salvador each year with the vast majority thought to have fled persecution and violence by gangs. Many seek anonymity and have become invisible victims, while others eventually join irregular migrant routes.

In conducting her examination of the situation of those affected by displacement, the expert will meet senior Government officials, United Nations and other human rights, humanitarian and development partners, as well as representatives of civil society organizations and those who have fled their homes.

Ms. Jimenez-Damary will present her preliminary conclusions at the end of her visit on 18 August at a press conference, which will take place at 2:30 pm at the United Nations building, Boulevard Orden de Malta Sur, No. 2B, Santa Elena. Access to the press conference will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur’s full findings will be included in a report to the Human Rights Council in June 2018.

Ms. Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, a human rights lawyer specializing in forced displacement and migration, has over two decades of experience in NGO human rights advocacy. She was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons by the Human Rights Council in September 2016. As a Special Rapporteur, she is part of the Special Procedures of Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization, and serve in their individual capacity.

Check the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement

UN Human Rights, Country Page: El Salvador

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In San Salvador (during the mission): Carlos León Ramón (+503 772 95220 / carlos.leon@one.un.org)
In Geneva (before and after the mission): Mr. Graham Fox (+41 22 917 9640 / gfox@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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