N° 52/10


Washington, D.C., May 12, 2010—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) deeply regrets the violent deaths of two inmates in penitentiary centers in El Salvador. The IACHR urgently calls on the State to adopt any measures necessary to ensure that similar events are not repeated.

According to the information the Commission has received, two persons died and at least 25 were injured in clashes among inmates that occurred on April 26, 2010, in the Sonsonate and Cojutepeque prisons in El Salvador.

The IACHR expresses its concern about these occurrences and its solidarity with the families of the inmates who died violently and of the persons were injured. It recalls that State human rights obligations include the obligation to adopt suitable and effective measures to prevent all types of violence among persons deprived of liberty. To that end, the States should adopt such measures as appropriately separating different categories of prisoners and effectively preventing the entry of weapons into prisons.

The IACHR reaffirms that the States are responsible for adopting security measures to protect persons subject to their jurisdiction, an obligation that is even more evident when it comes to those in custody, over whom the State stands in a position of guarantor. This obligation is imposed not only in relation to the authority of the State, but also in terms of the actions of private third parties. The IACHR urges the Salvadoran authorities to adopt appropriate measures designed to prevent outbreaks of violence in prisons.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.

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