Honduras ended the year 2022 with 35.3 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants according to data officers. The lowest homicide rate that the Central American country has had in the last 16 years, and although only a month ago an exception regime was approved In some neighborhoods of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, the government attributes the drop in homicides to the emergency measure.
El Salvador is a similar case. Carries nine months under an exception regime in which it has captured more than 61,300 people accused of belonging to gangs. And the result of this “extraction”, according to the government, has been a drop in homicides whose rate went from 18.1 in 2021 to 7.8 in 2022, reported the Ministry of Security.
That homicidal violence in these historically violent countries decreases is positive, according to non-governmental organizations such as Cristosal, but adds that it decreases due to emergency measures whose nature must be temporary is risky for the rule of law and democracy.
“The authorities can make arrests of people who have committed crimes without the need to suspend constitutional rights,” explains the recent legal analysis published by the San Salvador-based human rights organization Cristosal, whose studies span the Northern Triangle of Central America.
The NGO emphasizes that the fight against organized crime, whether committed by gangs or drug trafficking, is an “obligation” of the States, but considers that to do so “it is not necessary to grant extraordinary powers to the Executive”, as is the case with emergency regimes.
El Salvador and Honduras have suspended rights established in their constitutions to combat crime. In El Salvador, from March 27 To date, the rights of free association and assembly, the privacy of communications and the right to be informed of the reason for an arrest have been limited.
In some areas of Honduras, the rights to personal liberty, freedom of association and assembly, freedom of transit, movement, and the inviolability of the home were suspended.
“There are other more suitable measures that serve to criminally prosecute organized crime and that do not imply the restriction or suspension of rights: such as the exercise of public criminal action or the conduct of investigations to substantiate arrest warrants,” adds Cristosal.
According to considers According to the Washington Office for Latin American Affairs (WOLA), a state of emergency should be a measure of a temporary nature to address an urgent issue that puts the life and integrity of citizens at risk “and cannot be addressed in any other way.”
The case of El Salvador
The government of Nayib Bukele, in El Salvador, has been extending for nine months an exceptional regime that ensures it is key to ending decades of homicides, disappearances and extortion in that country.
Since March 27 of last year, the police and the army have been patrolling the neighborhoods and neighborhoods to capture thousands of people whose belonging to the Mara Salvatrucha or Barrio 18 is known to the authorities.
In the months of the regime, homicides have dropped. But the complaints for arbitrary arrests or torture inside the prisons have sounded with greater force.
Cristosal registered 3,086 complaints of human rights violations until December 31, 2022. 97.5% of the complaints were for arbitrary detention.
At least 3,313 people, whose gang membership could not be proven, have been releasedaccording to the Ministry of Security.
Despite this, other organizations such as the Foundation of Studies for the Application of Law (FESPAD), the Passionist Social Service (SPASS) and the Institute of Human Rights of the UCA (Idhuca) have denounced abuses of authority under this measure.
The Honduran model
Historically, Honduras has sought to combat organized crime through the creation of new police forces such as the Police Directorate of Investigations (DPI) and the Military Police for Public Order (PMOP), but the homicide rate remained between 45 and 65 homicides. for every 100,000 inhabitants.
A month ago, they decided to bet on an exception regime whose model they seek to eventually expand.
The director of the police of that country, Gustavo Sánchez, said this January 6 to the local medium Go TV Honduras, which will request the Honduran Congress to expand the regime “in time and space.”
In other words, an extension of 30 more days and that the measure be extended throughout the Central District, the Sula Valley and other municipalities that consider it necessary to apply it.
The petition has not yet been formally made before the national Congress.
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