Deported Salvadorans Abused, Killed, Says HRW

Deported Salvadorans Abused, Killed, Says HRW”

In the shocking new report, Human Rights Watch found 138 people deported to El Salvador were murdered by gang members, police, soldiers, US -trained death squads or ex-partners between 2013 and 2019. The majority were killed within two years of deportation by the same perpetrators they had tried to escape by seeking safety in the US. That has included a policy of forcing asylum seekers from Central America to wait in Mexico while their claims are evaluated and be sent back to their homelands if their claim is rejected. But the country still has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. In addition, nearly 11,000 people were registered missing during the last decade - more than the number of people who disappeared during the 1979-1992 civil war. "Gangs kill children, they dismember people, they terrorize communities and we are working hard, very hard against them".

"The United States has to have known this was happening because the cases were publicly reported and more importantly because Salvadorans make it clear in asylum applications that this is their reality", said Kennedy. More than 200,000 people were deported from Mexico and the El Salvador during the study period.

US officials are forcing asylum-seekers to await the outcomes of their claims in unsafe Mexican border cities.

She blamed gang rivalries for the violence that plagues the country, and avoided a direct answer when asked about allegations in the report that police officers have killed deportees who are suspected gang members. The reported abuse includes sexual violence, extortion and torture, and was generally inflicted by local gangs.

A majority of the deaths documented in the report occurred less than a year after the deportees returned to El Salvador, some within days. The actual number is believed to be much higher due to under-reporting. Do they start a new life? Many Salvadorans already live in the USA under Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which the Trump administration has chose to end.

"As asylum and immigration policies tighten in the United States and dire security problems continue in El Salvador, the U.S. is repeatedly violating its obligations to protect Salvadorans from return to serious risk of harm", the Human Rights Watch report states.

The so-called asylum cooperation agreements are among the controversial measures the U.S. government has taken to close the door to asylum seekers arriving at its border with Mexico. The deaths and assaults occurred between 2014 and 2018 when the government sent back 111,000 Salvadorans to their native country.

HRW researchers tracked and verified hundreds of press reports, and conducted 150 interviews with deportees, surviving family members, government and security officials, and USA immigration attorneys.

In order to make the United States more capable of responding to the current realities of forced migration, Human Rights Watch calls on the United States to go beyond the narrow reach of its asylum laws by providing broad protection to anyone, like numerous Salvadorans featured in the report, who would face a real risk of serious harm upon return. They were able to identify "over 70 instances in which deportees were subjected to sexual violence, torture, and other harm, usually at the hands of gangs, or who went missing following their return".

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