Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Big job for El Salvador's new Human Rights Advocate

El Salvador has a new Human Rights Advocate within its government. Raquel Caballero de Guevara is the new "Procuradora para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos" or PDDH.   The position is one which advocates for human rights and denounces their abuses, but has no real power.

The election of Caballero de Guevara required a super-majority of votes in the National Assembly, so each of the major parties needed to support her.  She replaces outgoing PDDH David Morales who was unable to garner support from the country's political parties for a second term.   (In the last fifteen years, I don't believe any PDDH has obtained a second term -- if they are doing their job well a PDDH makes the politicians in power uncomfortable as they are held accountable on human rights issues).

The issues on the desk of Caballero de Guevara as she commences her job are large.   In the face of a hard line government response to gang violence, the PDDH must address serious and ongoing reports of police and military abuses including summary executions.   Following the repeal of the post war amnesty law, the PDDH should be a leading advocate for justice for the victims of crimes against humanity committed during the civil war.  In a country with record high levels of homicides and disappearances, the PDDH should be an advocate for the victims who often receive scarce attention from the Salvadoran government.

The start of Caballero de Guevara's time in office has not been without controversy.  She has been accused of firing supporters of David Morales in her office, hiring a step-daughter for an administrative position within the office of the PDDH, and immediately asking for the purchase of new pick-ups for her use in travelling the country.  For her part, Caballero de Guevara has denied the allegations of favoritism.


Greg said...

"No power", indeed.

Brand new office of significant import and she can't even get a new vehicle to travel the country to do her job.

Wow, just Wow.

Lawrence M. Ladutke said...

Let's hope this is not another Penate Polanco.s