This week the US State Department released its annual human rights reports concerning the record of the countries of the world in protecting the human rights of their citizens. The 2008 Human Rights Report for El Salvador is not much changed from the past few years. The report summarizes:
Although the government generally respected the rights of its citizens, protection of human rights was undermined by widespread violent crime, including gang-related violence, high levels of impunity from prosecution, and judicial corruption. Other significant human rights problems included harsh, violent, and overcrowded prison conditions; lengthy pretrial detention; violence and discrimination against women; abuses against children, child labor, and forced child prostitution; trafficking in persons; and inadequate enforcement of labor rights.
The report's harshest critique applies to the ineffective criminal justice system in the country:
Although the constitution provides for an independent judiciary, the judiciary suffered from inefficiency, corruption, and insufficient resources. Substantial corruption in the judicial system contributed to a high level of impunity, undermining the rule of law and the public's respect for the judiciary. Inadequate government funding of the PNC, combined with intimidation and killing of victims and witnesses, made it difficult to identify, arrest, and prosecute perpetrators of human rights abuses and other crimes, thus diminishing public confidence in the justice system....
NGOs, such as the Foundation for Studies in Legal Application, the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUSADES), and IDHUCA continued to allege that the Supreme Court did not adequately address judicial delays, inefficiency, and unqualified and corrupt judges. FUSADES reported that the public had no faith in the judicial system due to a lack of access to justice and accountability, a judicial backlog, and corruption.