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Human rights defenders in El Salvador face harassment, intimidation, threats, surveillance and arbitrary arrests and detention often based on fabricated evidence. The authorities of El Salvador seem to use increasingly the judicial system to criminalise the activities of human rights defenders.
The human rights defender community is regularly subjected to campaigns of defamation - they are labeled as 'traitors of the nation', 'terrorists' and 'subversive'. This tactic employed by the authorities is designed to discredit and undermine the work of human rights defenders by isolating and marginalising them, making them a vulnerable target for abuse.
Community leaders and environmental activists who are opposed to large-scale mining projects face death threats and violence, as evidenced by the murder of two human rights defenders in December 2009 and the kidnapping, torture and assassination of another anti-mining activist in June 2009. Journalists and other human rights defenders working on these issues have also faced death threats and intimidation.
Among other human rights defenders who are particularly targeted are those campaigning on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI). The offices of several LGBTI organisations have been broken into and ransacked, and their members attacked, intimidated, and threatened. Complaints made by LGBTI rights defenders to the police are often ignored, according to LGBT organisation Entre Amigos.
El Salvador: Attack against anti-mining activist and human rights defender Father Santos Neftalí Ruíz Martínez
El Salvador : Killing of anti-mining activist and human rights defender Mr Juan Francisco Duran Ayala
El Salvador: Lack of thorough investigation into death threats received by human rights journalists working with Radio Victoria