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  • The rate of femicides has decreased since last year, but the outlook for women's security in the country does not appear to be improving.

    The rate of femicides has decreased since last year, but the outlook for women's security in the country does not appear to be improving. | Photo: EFE

Published 4 April 2019

"We can not stop condemning and being offended and aggrieved with every femicide, with every aggression caused to women, we do our best to investigate the cases," Cotto said.

El Salvador’s National Civil Police (PNC) reported 76 femicides throughout the country, a 31 percent decrease from 2018.

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"In 2019 we registered 76 women who died as a result of acts of social and criminal violence (...) 34 women were registered less than in the previous year," said Howard Cotto, director of the PNC.

The departments of Morazan and La Union reported an increase in femicides, while other departments have reported reductions from last year.

The PNC dealt with 3,916 cases of various types of violence against women, Cotto said Friday. Those cases included intra-family violence, expressions of violence, sexual assault, rape and labor discrimination, expressions against women, and others.

"We can not stop condemning and being offended and aggrieved with every femicide, with every aggression caused to women, we do our best to investigate the cases," Cotto said.

He added that protocols for crime investigations against women have improved. And that cases were attended to in the 31 Specialized Care Offices for Women in Situations of Violence located throughout the country.

However, Amnesty International noted that the security measures taken by the government do not comply with human rights standards.

"Measures were taken to address impunity for historical abuses; however, the executive and legislative branches of government admitted being in contempt of a 2016 Supreme Court judgment that declared the 1993 Amnesty Law unconstitutional," Amnesty's El Salvador 2017/2018 report states.

The outlook for women in the country remains grim. Amnesty International has ranked El Salvador as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women.

In 2016 and 2017 alone, the organization recorded femicide rates of 16 and 12 per 100,000 inhabitants -- higher than epidemic rates at the international level.

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Authorities attribute the majority of homicides, including the murder of women, to the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), it’s rival Barrio 18, and other gangs.

Registered homicide rates of between 103 and 50.3 per 100,000 people between the years of 2015 and 2018 make El Salvador one of the most violent countries in the world -- and the country is not at war.

However, military authorities noted that the country is undergoing an armed conflict of "low intensity" due to constant clashes between security forces and gangs.

In recent years, MS13 has sought to expand its political connections. In 2016, video evidence surfaced of a secret negotiation to exchange political support for economic benefits.

“The long-term effects of the gang truce in El Salvador continue to unfold, but it appears the MS13 is as strong as ever and will remain an immense source of citizen insecurity and a potent force,” a report by Insight Crime stated.

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