El Salvador's Journalists Association also rejected legal reforms that punish journalists with up to 15 years in prison for reporting on gang-related matters.
On Tuesday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressed concern about the measures taken by President Nayib Bukele to contain the increase in gang violence.
"We understand the challenge that gang violence poses for El Salvador and the state's duty to guarantee security and justice, but this must be done in accordance with international human rights law," the OHCHR spokeswoman Liz Throssell said.
Since the declaration of the state of emergency on March 27, police and military forces "have resorted to the unnecessary and excessive use of force" during operations deployed in gang-controlled areas, she added.
Among the 5,747 detainees in these operations, it has been reported that some have suffered cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
Soldiers searching people at a checkpoint after El Salvador's Congress approved emergency powers that temporarily suspended some constitutional protections after the Central American country recorded a sharp rise in killings attributed to criminal gangs. pic.twitter.com/hWHwTiKHIu— AJhumanrights (@AJHumanRightsEN) April 5, 2022
Concern about the growing authoritarianism prevailing in this Central American country was also expressed by El Salvador's Journalists Association (APES), which rejected recent reforms to the Penal Code and the Gang Ban Law that punish journalists with up to 15 years in prison for reporting on gang-related matters.
"These reforms threaten the media and journalists who report on a reality that the current administration, obsessed with propaganda and misrepresentation, seeks to hide," APES said.
“Prohibiting journalism from reporting the reality of thousands of people, who live in communities controlled by gangs, will not have any effect... Not mentioning the gangs will not make them disappear either,” it added.