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In the first quarter of the year, 132 people were declared missing, which represents an increase of 28 percent compared to the same period in 2022.
On Tuesday, some 35 photographs of disappeared people were displayed in the Gerardo Barrios Square in San Salvador city, as part of an action to call on the judicial authorities to shed light on their cases.
The activity was organized by the "Missing Persons Search Bloc" as part of the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, held each year on August 30. Among the images is one of William Garcia, who disappeared in 2018.
"The day he disappeared, four people came to my house to talk to him... He left the house for work and never came back," says Jorge Garcia, the victim's father, who has gone to several states institutions, including the Public Prosecutor's Office, to look for his 25-year-old son.
The Missing Persons Search Bloc, an NGO made up of relatives of the disappeared and members of eight human rights organizations, was created in 2022 by 27 mothers who decided to search for disappeared civilians.
El Salvador's mega prison, the Center for Confinement of Terrorism, holds over 12,000 suspected gang members, with rival groups MS-13 and Calle 18 among them. Severe conditions led inmates to plead for food and medical aid, raising human rights concerns. #prison#humanrightspic.twitter.com/A5jXQRWT01
Silvia Juarez, a member of the Organization of Salvadoran Women for Peace (ORMUSA), demanded that more resources be allocated to the institutions in charge of investigations so they can fully exercise their powers and respond to the demands of the victims.
Human rights defenders also called on the Legislative Assembly to expedite the approval of a law that enforces the search for victims and focuses on "prevention, investigation, justice, comprehensive reparation and guarantees of non-repetition."
Between 2019 and June 2022, at least 6,443 cases of disappeared persons were registered. In the first quarter of the year, 132 people were declared missing, which represents an increase of 28 percent compared to the same period in 2022, according to the National Civil Police.
Nevertheless, the numbers could be higher due to inconsistencies in official reports and the failure of President Nayib Bukele's administration to participate in the Inter-American Convention on Enforced Disappearances and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons.