The Human Rights Actions Network


El Salvador: New Attack on Gay Organization

                                            SLV 001 / 0101 / OBS 002
                                                         El Salvador
                                                      5 January 2001

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders,
a joint programme of the FIDH and the OMCT, requests your
urgent intervention in the following situation in El Salvador.

Brief description of the situation

The Observatory is gravely concerned by information received
from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights
Commission (IGLHRC) of a new attack on the gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender organisation ‘Entre Amigos', in El

According to the information received, on 29 October 2000, the
premises of Entre Amigos were broken into during the night, and
a fax machine was stolen.  On December 3, 2000, in another
early-morning break-in, the cables of a recently installed alarm
system were cut, and the offices were thoroughly searched, with
a membership lists well as petty cash stolen.  Moreover, on
October 27 2000, an employee of the organization was robbed of
her personal documents and of the organization's fortnightly
payroll as she emerged from a bank in San Salvador.

It is noted that during these attacks, costly equipment that could
be easily transported was not touched by the intruders, who
focused their attention on items of potentially high political value,
such as member lists.

In view of a number of attacks against Entre Amigos over the last
few years, the Observatory believes that these recent crimes are
not ordinary attacks but an attempt to interfere with the activities
of Entre Amigos.

November 19, 2000. Walter Sanchez, a transvestite who was also
a member of Entre Amigos, was shot to death in the street by
unidentified men firing from a passing car.

April 3, 2000. Juan Carlos Cortés Peña, a sex worker who is also
a member of Entre Amigos, was attacked by police officers while
at work. He stood up to the abuse. Few hours later, he was
arrested, allegedly because "faggots should not talk back to police
officers". He was released after intense local and international
pressure was put on the Salvadorian police.

June 29, 1999. Unknown individuals shot and injured a gay man as
he was leaving the "Entre Amigos" offices in the company of Mr.

June 26, 1999. A person who later identified himself as a member
of the special Presidential Battalion used his weapon to threaten a
transgender person who was participating in Lesbian and Gay
Pride Day celebrations in the Constitution Plaza in San Salvador.

March 7, 1999. William Hernandez, the group's Executive
Director, received a death threat on the day of El Salvador's
presidential election. He received several others until February
2000, when he was finally granted police protection following an
intense local and international campaign. (See urgent appeal

December 6, 1998. Unknown persons broke into the "Entre
Amigos" offices and went through the confidential records of the
group.  A sound system was stolen during the break-in, in order,
activists believe, to make it appear a robbery.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities of El Salvador urging them to

i.  take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical
    and psychological integrity of all members of Entre
    Amigos and order an immediate investigation into
    these attacks and harassment in order to identify
    those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the
    penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided
    by law;

ii. ensure the application of the provisions of the
    Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by
    the General Assembly of the UN on December 9th
    1998, especially with respect to the protection of the
    right of all persons, "...individually or in association
    with others, to promote and to strive for the protection
    and realization of human and fundamental freedoms
    at the national and international levels"  (Art.1.) as
    well as the duty of the  State  to ensure "the
    protection by the competent authorities of everyone,
    individually and in association with others, against any
    violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure,
    adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary
    action as a consequence of his or her legitimate
    exercise of the rights referred to in the present
    Declaration" (Art.12.2);

iii.ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights
    and fundamental freedoms in accordance with
    international human rights standards.


Lic. Mauricio Sandoval, Director General de la PNC - Policía
Nacional Civil, Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, Alameda Juan
Pablo II, arriba del Parque Infantil, San Salvador, El Salvador, Fax
(503) 221 39 55 /22136 88.

The Diplomatic Representatives of El Salvador in your country.

Paris-Geneva, 5 January 2001

The Human Rights Actions Network

Human Rights in El Salvador


The Human Rights Action Network, a project of Derechos Human Rights, distributes appeals on behalf of victims of human rights violations. You are invited to join the network. Please check the date of the present action and do not write if it's over a month old.

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