The Ibero-American summit of heads of state which takes place this week in El Salvador has the theme "Youth and Development." The presence of the summit in El Salvador has brought the focus to El Salvador's refusal to sign the Ibero-American Convention on the Rights of Youth.
The Convention, which has already been signed by 18 of the 22 member countries of the Ibero-American Community, contains 44 articles promoting the rights of young people in areas such as health, sexuality, work, education and culture, through the implementation of public policies. For more information, review the text of the Convention (in Spanish) or the related website.
El Salvador has not signed the convention, claiming conflicts with its constitution, according to this article from the IPS news service:
According to Luis Salazar, associate ombudsman for the rights of children and adolescents, the government's arguments against signing the Convention "are absurd," and can be put to rest by the country registering its reservations, as provided in Article 40 of the document.
"The rejection of the Convention by the Catholic Church definitely carries more weight than the arguments put forward by the government," Salazar said. "That is the real reason" the government will not accept it, he argued.
Both Saca and Argueta have said they will not sign the Convention because Article 12, and others, run counter to the Salvadoran constitution, by granting persons between the ages of 18 and 30 the right to refuse compulsory military service on the grounds of conscientious objection.
But this is a confusing argument, since the 1992 peace agreement that put an end to El Salvador’s 12-year civil war abolished obligatory conscription, according to analysts.
In recent weeks the Archbishop of San Salvador, Fernando Sáenz Lacalle, who belongs to the most conservative wing of the Catholic Church, has declared himself against the signing of the Convention, saying that part of its contents are harmful to society, such as the articles that support the right to sex education, and to choose a partner freely.(more)