ISSN 2330-717X

US: Deported Salvadorans Abused, Killed, Says HRW

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The United States government is deporting Salvadorans to face risk of murder and other serious abuse, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released.

The 117-page report, “Deported to Danger: United States Deportation Policies Expose Salvadorans to Death and Abuse,” identifies cases of 138 Salvadorans who, since 2013, were killed after deportation from the United States, and more than 70 others who were beaten, sexually assaulted, extorted, or tortured. Perpetrators of these abuses include gangs, former intimate partners, and Salvadoran police or security personnel.

“US authorities have knowingly put Salvadorans in harm’s way by sending them to face murder and attacks on their safety,” said Alison Parker, managing director of the US Program at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report. “Salvadorans are facing murder, rape, and other violence after deportation in shockingly high numbers, while the US government narrows Salvadorans’ access to asylum and turns a blind eye to the deadly results of its callous policies.”

International law binding on the United States prohibits the return of anyone to a country where they face serious risks to their lives or safety. The United States is not solely responsible – Salvadoran gangs and Salvadoran authorities who harm deportees or who do little or nothing to protect them bear direct responsibility – but in many cases the United States is putting Salvadorans in harm’s way in circumstances where it knows or should know that harm is likely.

In order to make the United States more capable of responding to the current realities of forced migration, Human Rights Watch calls on the United States to go beyond the narrow reach of its asylum laws by providing broad protection to anyone, like many of the Salvadorans featured in the report, who would face a real risk of serious harm upon return. 

Based on a year and a half of research in El Salvador and the United States, Human Rights Watch interviewed close to 150 people for the report, including deportees, surviving family members, Salvadoran nongovernmental workers, government officials, and US immigration attorneys.

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