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TITLE:  EL SALVADOR HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                          
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994

                        EL SALVADOR

El Salvador is a constitutional, multiparty democracy with an 
executive branch headed by a President, a unicameral National 
Assembly, and a separate but politically appointed judiciary.  
Alfredo Cristiani of the Nationalist Republican Alliance 
(ARENA) was inaugurated President for a 5-year term on June 1, 
1989.  On January 16, 1992, the Government and the Frente 
Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional (FMLN) signed peace 
accords ending 11 years of civil war and providing for the 
reintegration of government and FMLN ex-combatants into 
national life.  The ensuing peace process suffered some serious 
delays.  Both parties were at times slow to implement some 
requirements of the accords, most of which applied to the 
Government, but compliance with most key elements was achieved 
by year's end.

The Truth Commission, mandated by the peace accords to 
investigate serious human rights violations in the past decade, 
reported its findings on March 15.  It recommended removal from 
government and military posts of those identified as human 
rights violators, as well as reforms of the Salvadoran armed 
forces (ESAF) and the judiciary.  On March 20, however, the 
National Assembly approved amnesty from criminal prosecution 
for all those implicated in the Truth Commission report.  Among 
those freed were the ESAF officers convicted in the 1989 Jesuit 
murders and the FMLN ex-combatants who were being held for the 
1991 killings of two U.S. servicemen.  In October the U.N. 
Secretary General reported that while some action had been 
taken to implement Truth Commission recommendations, much 
remained to be done.

The peace accords also established an Ad Hoc Commission to 
evaluate the human rights record, professional competence, and 
commitment to democracy of the ESAF officer corps.  On June 30, 
the last of 103 officers identified by this commission as 
responsible for human rights violations were removed from 
active duty in the ESAF, and they were formally retired at the 
end of December.  In July the U.N. Observer Mission in El 
Salvador (ONUSAL) declared the Government in compliance with 
the Ad Hoc commission recommendations.  Although ONUSAL 
certified the complete demobilization of the FMLN on December 
14, 1992, large undeclared FMLN arms caches were discovered in 
El Salvador and neighboring countries during 1993.  On June 11, 
the U.N. Security Council called the maintenance of these 
caches the most serious violation to date of the peace 
accords.  A new inventory was conducted, and destruction of 
arms caches was completed on August 18, after which ONUSAL 
declared the FMLN military structure completely dismantled.  
Substantial progress was made on electoral registration in 
preparation for the March 1994 general election.  

The ESAF includes the army, air force and navy.  In February  
the ESAF completed its downsizing as required under the peace 
accords, reducing its manpower from 62,000 to 31,000, and 
dismantling the last of its five elite rapid reaction 
battalions.  Human rights training is now conducted annually 
for all enlisted soldiers and is an integral part of the 
curriculum at all professional development schools for 
officers.  In March the new National Civilian Police (PNC) 
began replacing the old National Police (PN) on a department-by-
department schedule.  At the end of the year, the new PNC was 
deployed in 7 of El Salvador's 14 departments, as well as in 
parts of the capital.  In the fall, the National Assembly 
passed legislation integrating personnel of the Special 
Investigative Unit (SIU) and the Executive Anti-Narcotics Unit 
(UEA) into the PNC, although concerns over the qualifications 
of some UEA personnel caused ONUSAL to withhold its approval 
pending further review.  The PN will be abolished once the PNC 
is fully deployed.  PNC personnel received human rights 
training at the new U.S.-supported police academy.

El Salvador has a mixed economy largely based upon agriculture 
and light manufacturing.  The Government maintained its 
commitment to free market reforms, including privatizing 
additional banks and hotels.  People are free to pursue 
economic interests, and private property is respected.  The 
1993 rate of real economic growth was 5 percent.

Progress on human rights was uneven in 1993.  The greatest 
number of human rights complaints filed with ONUSAL were 
accusations against members of the PN; a much smaller number 
were filed against the ESAF.  Institutional improvements 
continued in areas mandated by the peace accords, such as the 
training and partial deployment of the PNC, expansion of the 
Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman (PDDH), and the 
implementation of some judicial reforms.  However, there 
remained an extremely high level of violence, particularly 
murder, assaults, and robberies, including crimes against 
children.  The judicial system continued to be subject to 
political influence.  The new amnesty law granted immunity to 
those who violated human rights during the years of civil 

The number of murders, which had declined early in the year, 
started to climb in the summer.  Allegations of politically 
motivated assassinations by death squads continued.  ONUSAL and 
the SIU investigated murders that might have been politically 
motivated.  While there were no confirmed cases of politically 
motivated killings, investigations of a number of cases 
continued at the end of the year.  Concern was sufficient, 
however, that, on December 8, the Government, in conjunction 
with the United Nations, formed a Joint Group with a 6-month 
mandate to investigate illegal armed groups and their possible 
involvement with political violence during the 2-year period 
since the signing of the peace accords.  There was widespread 
abuse of women and children. 


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

The end of hostilities in El Salvador led to an immediate and 
significant reduction in extrajudicial killings, though there 
were a few unsubstantiated murder allegations directed against 
unspecified government forces and the FMLN.  The Ministry of 
the Presidency's oversight of the PN and the progressive 
deployment of the PNC substantially increased government 
control over the public security forces; however, there was 
some resistance to civilian control among elements of the PN.  
Demilitarization of large numbers of ex-combatants, poor morale 
among the PN, the incomplete transition to the new PNC, and the 
large number of arms in circulation among the citizenry left 
the Government unable to prevent or control significant 
criminal activity by private armed individuals or groups, some 
of whose actions may have been politically motivated.  

On May 20, a confrontation developed between PN riot police and 
demonstrators representing the "war wounded," including former 
ESAF and FMLN combatants, in San Salvador.  Five policemen 
fired shots in the direction of the crowd and one of the 
protesters, Santos Martinez Perez, an FMLN ex-combatant, was 
killed in the only fatal government-FMLN incident since the 
formal cease-fire period began in February 1992.  The judge 
investigating the case ordered the policeman who fired the 
fatal shot detained on a charge of manslaughter, which the 
Attorney General's office sought to reduce to negligent 
homicide.  Pending resolution of that issue, the PN refused to 
relinquish the accused to the judge in charge of the case, an 
example of PN resistance to civilian oversight.

There were no confirmed cases of death squad killings in 1993, 
but some observers continued to ascribe certain suspicious 
deaths to death squads.  ONUSAL stated that some of the 
criminal armed groups active in 1993 used methods similar to 
those of the 1980's death squads, but stopped short of 
declaring that death squads still existed.  Death threats 
remained a method of intimidation.  PNC Academy Director Mario 
Bolanos received numerous anonymous death threats and had a 
bomb placed outside his office, which may have been the work of 
rejected academy applicants.  A group called "Angels of Death" 
was described by the press as administering "street justice" to 
delinquents.  In September a group called the "Guardian Angels" 
threatened to assassinate judges and PN members who did not 
administer justice to criminals.  Also in September, callers 
claiming to represent the National Lawyers Association and the 
Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez Brigade made death threats 
against Dr. Rene Madecadel Perla Jimenez, a professor at the 
University of El Salvador and a member of the new National 
Council of the Judiciary (see Section 1.e.).

The Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez Brigade threatened the 
family of Jose Maria Mendez, a prominent lawyer, in October and 
November.  Others threatened included Dr. Juan Mateu Llort, 
Director of the Institute of Forensic Medicine; Unity Movement 
political candidates in Usulutan; and several prominent 
businessmen accused of financing death squads.  Unknown persons 
threw an incendiary device in October and a grenade in December 
at Christian Democratic Party leader Arturo Argumedo's home.

On October 25, Francisco Velis Castellanos, a leader of the 
Central American Workers' Revolutionary Party (PRTC) faction of 
the FMLN, was killed in San Salvador as he was delivering his 
2-year-old daughter to a day-care center.  Velis was shot in 
the head, and the assailants escaped in a waiting vehicle.  The 
audacity of the crime, committed on a crowded downtown street, 
and the clean getaway, prompted speculation of a political 
motivation.  A high-profile investigation, led by the SIU which 
was assisted by observers from the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation, Scotland Yard, and the Spanish Police, continued 
at year's end.

On October 30, a leader of the Renewed Expression of the People 
(ERP) faction of the FMLN, Heleno Hernan Castro Guevara, was 
killed on a highway in San Vicente department.  Two other FMLN 
members were killed on October 27 in Guazapa, San Salvador 
department.  The four deaths in 5 days spawned a number of 
allegations of renewed death squad killings.  Investigators 
concluded, however, that Castro was killed when an argument 
escalated following a car accident.  The ERP concurred in this 
assessment.  Police are looking for the murder suspect.  

On December 9, another FMLN/PRTC leader, Jose Mario Lopez,  
died from a gunshot wound in the leg in San Salvador.  
Eyewitnesses stated that he was shot by thugs when he attempted 
to stop a robbery.  His bodyguard, however, who was also shot, 
later alleged that the assailants were really waiting for Lopez 
and that the attempted street robbery was a ruse.  

On December 10, Jose Guillermo Ventura, the brother of an FMLN 
local candidate, was killed when three gunmen attacked his 
brother's house.  The SIU, ONUSAL, and the PDHH initiated 
investigations.  On December 11, six Santa Ana area peasants 
who were walking to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting were 
attacked and murdered by three assailants.  Within hours, the  
PN had arrested two ESAF members and a third person for the 
killings.  The victims had no apparent political affiliations.

Earlier in the year, on February 13, Juan Carlos Garcia 
Panameno and Manuel de Jesus Panameno Garcia were murdered in 
Usulutan department.  The two young men were associated with 
the FMLN-linked Monsignor Oscar Romero Committee of Mothers and 
Relatives of Political Prisoners, Disappeared, and Assassinated 
of El Salvador (COMADRES).  Reports of death threats against 
one of the victims and his relatives lent initial credibility 
to COMADRES' allegations of military death squad involvement.  
A thorough investigation by the SIU, aided by cooperation from 
the victims' relatives in COMADRES, concluded that the murders 
were connected with a common robbery and not politically 
motivated.  ONUSAL agreed with the SIU conclusion.  A suspect 
was apprehended.  

On February 21, Freddy Fernando Torres Portillo, an FMLN 
municipal leader, was found dead in San Salvador from a gunshot 
wound to the head.  Torres had earlier reported death threats 
to ONUSAL and was the fourth member of a labor or leftwing 
organization murdered in an 8-day span.  For these reasons, 
ONUSAL and the PDDH expressed initial concern over possible 
political motives in all four killings.  Later evidence 
indicated, however, that the Torres murder may have been the 
result of a common crime.  An ex-PN member who was an 
acquaintance of the victim was apprehended and questioned but 

On August 19, a pair of gunmen killed a logistical operative, 
Oscar Grimaldi, from the Popular Forces of Liberation (FPL) 
faction of the FMLN.  He was the second FPL logistical 
operative murdered within 2 months, which prompted accusations 
of death squad responsibility for both the Grimaldi and earlier 
killings.  Others suggested that elements inside the FMLN had 
reason to silence both men for their knowledge about the FPL 
arms caches discovered in Nicaragua.  The SIU identified both 
suspects and issued arrest warrants, but the alleged 
triggerman, Salvador Guzman Perez, was killed the day after his 
arrest warrant was issued.  The SIU is investigating the Guzman 
killing.  The other suspect in the Grimaldi case was 
apprehended, and the SIU concluded that the murder was not 
political.  ONUSAL, however, still considered a political 
motive possible. 

On December 29, a group of four assailants killed Ruben Eduardo 
Vanegas Escobar and his grandparents in Ochupse, Santa Ana 
department.  The killers came to his house and asked for him by 
name.  Vanegas was a member of the ERP and a local FMLN 
leader.  The nature of the attack and the fact that nothing was 
taken from the house led ONUSAL to investigate the crime as a 
possible political killing.

Earlier in the year, on January 5, the badly beaten body of 
Supreme Court employee Adelmo Lemus was found in San Salvador.  
Lemus had worked for former Supreme Court president Francisco 
"Chachi" Guerrero, who was murdered in 1989.  ONUSAL initiated 
an investigation to determine whether Lemus was killed in a 
common crime arising from an unresolved financial transaction 
or because he may have spoken to the Truth Commission about 
Guerrero's assassination.  The case had not been resolved at 
year's end.

There were several murders of persons with ties to the ARENA 
party that government investigators concluded were the result 
of common crime.  These include the murders of Sebastian 
Araniva in San Miguel, Celestino Antonio Cerna Linares and 
Elisandro Eusebio Cerritos Duarte in Santa Ana department, and 
Melvin Alexis Garcia Urbina in Morazan department.  PN agents 
Jose Luis Chicas and Jose Alfredo Bonilla Cruz and ESAF 
Lieutenant Jose Francisco Rodriguez Melendez were brutally 
murdered in San Salvador, but government investigators concluded
that common crime was the motive.  

On December 10, PN agent Pedro Vasquez Ramos and his brother, 
Rudy Oswaldo Vasquez Ramos, were kidnaped in Cuscatlan 
department.  Their bodies were later found in a ravine with 
hands and feet bound and shot in the head.  Bodily bruises and 
broken bones suggested the possibility of torture.  The PN, 
ONUSAL, and the PDDH initiated investigations.

A previously unknown group, the Salvadoran Revolutionary Front 
(FRS), threatened retaliation for the May 20 war wounded 
shootings by the government riot police, and claimed 
responsibility for the murders of an ESAF captain and two PN 
policemen the following day.  Most observers believe that the 
FRS simply claimed responsibility for the murders to enhance 
its credibility.  The FRS issued sporadic threats throughout 
the remainder of the year, including those against U.S. 
military civic action deployment and against high-ranking ESAF 
officers, but none was carried out.

On May 21, the day following the war wounded demonstration, 
ESAF Captain Juan Hernandez Mejia was killed on a highway near 
Guazapa by four armed men, dressed as members of the PN, who 
stopped his vehicle.  When Hernandez called for help, two 
legitimate policemen who responded were also killed.  Despite 
the FRS claim of responsibility for the murders, ONUSAL 
determined that the killings were the result of a highway 
robbery committed by a band of heavily armed renegade ex-FMLN 
and former ESAF members operating near Guazapa.

There was some progress in resolving outstanding incidents of 
human rights abuse from earlier years.  In January the report 
of an international forensic team investigating the 1981 El 
Mozote massacre confirmed that a mass murder had occurred.  The 
team identified the skeletal remains of 143 people, including 
136 children and adolescents, and found that at least 24 
individual firearms had been used in the massacre.  The 
evidence clearly showed that the ESAF was responsible.

Three persons were arrested for the 1992 murder of Dr. Jose 
Mauricio Quintana Abrego, an ex-FMLN supporter who had become 
an ARENA party member.  ONUSAL considered this a possible 
political crime.

The Truth Commission, in its report issued March 15, identified 
the Government or its agents as responsible for extrajudicial 
killings in the cases of Monsignor Romero (1980), the Rio 
Sumpul massacre (1980), the leaders of the Revolutionary 
Democratic Front (1980), the American nuns (1980), the El 
Mozote massacre (1981), the Dutch journalists (1982), the San 
Sebastian massacre (1988), the Jesuit priests (1989), and 14 
other cases that were examined in detail.  The Commission 
charged the ESAF, National Guard, and other security forces of 
the Government with direct responsibility for the great 
majority of the 817 instances of alleged death squad kidnapings,
disappearances, and killings it investigated that occurred from 
1980 to 1991.

The Truth Commission found the FMLN responsible for the 
assassinations of 11 mayors and numerous judges from 1985 to 
1988.  It also found the FMLN responsible for extrajudicial 
killings in the cases of the Zona Rosa massacre (1985), Anaya 
Sanabria (1987), Romero Garcia, also known as "Miguel 
Castellanos" (1989), Peccorini Lettona (1989), Garcia Alvarado 
(1989), Guerrero (1989), and the two U.S. servicemen killed in 
1991 after their helicopter was downed by the FMLN.  In the 
last case, on May 24 a judge ruled that the accused, Ferman 
Hernandez Arevalo and Severiano Fuentes Fuentes, were covered 
by the general amnesty law.  The San Miguel appeals court 
upheld that decision, but both rulings were appealed to the 
Supreme Court on the grounds that the crimes were common crimes 
not covered by the amnesty law.

The Truth Commission recommended that all persons named in its 
report as human rights violators be removed from their positions
in the security forces or the Government and be barred from 
public office for 10 years.  However, the National Commission 
for the Consolidation of Peace (COPAZ), composed of 
representatives from across the political spectrum, opposed the 
ban on public office as an unconstitutional deprivation of 
citizens' rights and as antithetical to national reconciliation,
and requested the U.N. Secretary General not to support it.  
The Truth Commission sharply criticized the judicial system for 
complicity in covering up or ignoring human rights abuses and 
called for the resignation of all the Supreme Court magistrates,
most notably the Supreme Court president, Mauricio Gutierrez 
Castro, for unprofessional conduct.  The magistrates refused to 
resign before the June 1994 expiration of their current terms.

The Truth Commission also recommended significant reforms of 
the ESAF and the judiciary.  In September the United Nations 
expressed satisfaction with the Government's progress in 
complying with the reforms of the ESAF.  Many of the key 
judicial reforms recommended by the Commission are in some 
stage of implementation.  Others, however, conflict with the 
Constitution; amendments require approval by two successive 
National Assemblies.  The President sent some of the 
recommended constitutional reforms without endorsement to the 
National Assembly, which did not act on them in 1993.  

The 1993 amnesty law was passed by the National Assembly on 
March 20, only 5 days following release of the Truth Commission 
report.  It granted amnesty to those convicted or accused of 
political and related common crimes during the conflict, 
including those named in the Truth Commission report, and 
effectively ended further investigation into most human rights 
abuses committed during the war years.  The governing ARENA 
party and its allies, the National Conciliation Party (PCN) and 
the Authentic Christian Movement (MAC), pushed the amnesty law 
through the National Assembly in a 47 to 8 vote with 13 
abstentions.  Hasty passage of this law by the progovernment 
parties prompted heavy criticism from local human rights and 
opposition groups as well as from international organizations 
and foreign governments.

The Ad Hoc Commission established to evaluate the human rights 
record, professional competence, and commitment to democracy of 
the ESAF officer corps presented its confidential findings, 
identifying 103 officers as responsible for human rights 
violations, to President Cristiani and U.N. Secretary General 
Boutros Ghali on September 22, 1992.  The Government failed to 
meet the initial November 1992 deadline for implementing the 
commission's recommendations, but the last of the officers were 
removed from active duty on June 30, 1993, and all were 
officially separated by December 31.  In July ONUSAL declared 
the Government in compliance with the Ad Hoc Commission's 

     b.  Disappearance

The Constitution forbids unacknowledged detention by the 
security forces or the military.  There were some unconfirmed 
allegations of abductions by unspecified government forces, as 
well as by the FMLN, during 1993.  A significant number of 
disappearances during the war years remained unresolved, and 
the new amnesty law meant that none of them was likely to be 

On May 22, Gregorio Mejia Espinosa, a minor official in one of 
the parties belonging to the Democratic Convergence coalition, 
was kidnaped as he went to catch a bus in San Salvador.  The 
armed kidnapers bound him and covered his head, transported him 
to a secured room, and questioned him about his party's 
activities and about student unrest following the May 20 war 
wounded shootings.  During the questioning, Mejia was burned 
numerous times on his chest, perhaps with a soldering device.  
He and another captive were then taken to an isolated area 
where one of the kidnapers held a pistol to Mejia's head.  When 
the gun failed to discharge, Mejia made his escape down a 
nearby ravine in a heavy rain.  Mejia had been threatened 
previously by a group called N-ESA (New Salvadoran 
Anti-Communist Army).  Both ONUSAL and the PDDH considered this 
kidnaping to have a possible political motive.  No suspects 
have been identified in the case. 

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Torture is prohibited by the Constitution, but abuse and 
mistreatment of detainees continued, even though confirmed 
reports of torture by the public security forces were fewer 
than in the past.  From January to October, ONUSAL's human 
rights division confirmed six reports of torture, one by the 
ESAF, two by the PN, one by an ex-PN member of the PNC, one by 
Mariona prison guards, and the unknown perpetrators of the 
Mejia kidnaping case described above.  

Prison conditions remained bleak, with overcrowding the most 
significant problem.  The largest prison, built 20 years ago to 
hold 800 prisoners, holds 2,200.  At the beginning of the civil 
war in 1980, 3,000 prisoners were distributed in 30 penal 
centers; 14 facilities now hold 5,500 prisoners.  Most cells 
are 15 by 20 feet, and some hold as many as 24 prisoners.  
Because of the overcrowding, some prisoners must sleep on the 
floor or "buy" a bed when one becomes available.  Prisoners are 
fed, but most find it necessary to supplement their rations 
with help from family.

On November 17, 27 prisoners died in a riot at the San Francisco
Gotera high-security prison.  The most violent inmates in the 
national prison system are concentrated in this prison which, 
though built to house 160 inmates, actually holds over 300.  
The riot was reportedly the result of cell block rivalries and 
all the deaths were caused by actions of the prisoners, 
including a fire that was set during the riot.  The security 
forces and the ESAF gained control of the situation in about 
5 hours but were criticized for not acting faster.

In January a penitentiary training school was established to 
provide 1 month of training to all prison guards and officers 
on an annual basis, and guards must now have a ninth-grade 
education.  These steps and the introduction of a case-tracking 
system resulted in some improvement in the treatment of 
prisoners.  Some training and work opportunities are available, 
Spartan health care is provided, and conjugal visits are 
allowed.  The women's prison and the juvenile detention center 
are less crowded, and conditions are somewhat better.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Arbitrary arrest and detention is prohibited by the 
Constitution, and its incidence declined, due largely to 
enactment of the 1992 Public Defender Law.  ONUSAL received 275 
complaints of arbitrary or unlawful detention by the security 
forces from January through October, a reduction from previous 
years.  The PN frequently arrested people illegally without a 
warrant when police had only a suspicion of a crime.  In 
September the President of the Supreme Court publicly suggested 
that, to control rising criminal activity, the police should 
enforce a previously unused "law of dangerous state," under 
which they may detain anyone who appeared dangerous, even 
though no crime had been committed.  In the wake of this 
announcement, ONUSAL's police division received some complaints 
indicating that the law was being sporadically implemented.

The police may hold a person for 72 hours before presenting him 
to court.  The practice of obtaining forced confessions during 
this 72-hour period was reduced through enforcement of the 
Public Defender Law, which guarantees counsel to indigent 
defendants from the moment of detention.  Public defenders are 
now regularly called by the police to provide representation to 
detained suspects.  From March 1992 to February 1993, public 
defenders freed from incarceration approximately 50 percent of 
their clients.  There is still a large backlog of detainees in 
the prison system, however, and approximately 88 percent of all 
inmates were awaiting trial or sentencing.

The public defender's office tripled in size over the last 
2 years, but there still was an inadequate number of public 
defenders.  The courts have generally enforced a ruling that 
nighttime questioning without the presence of a public defender 
is considered coercion and any evidence so obtained is 
inadmissible.  Questioning now is routinely delayed until 
morning and the arrival of the public defender.

When the detainee is delivered to the court, the judge may 
order detention for an additional 72 hours to determine if the 
evidence warrants holding the accused for further investigation.
The judge is then allowed 120 days to investigate serious 
crimes, or 45 days for lesser offenses, before bringing the 
accused to trial or dismissing the case.  In practice, these 
time limits were rarely observed, but a new law to become 
effective in 1994 would impose fines against lower court judges 
who fail to comply with time restrictions as a result of 

Although the law permits release pending trial for crimes in 
which the maximum penalty does not exceed 3 years, many common 
crimes (against property, homicide, murder, manslaughter, and 
rape) carry penalties in excess of 3 years, thereby precluding 
release pending trial.  Because defendants are imprisoned from 
the moment they are apprehended, and the judicial process can 
take several years, some have been incarcerated longer than the 
maximum possible sentence.  Any detained person may request a 
review (habeas corpus) by the Supreme Court, but the request 
must be in writing, and the petitioner has neither access to 
the court nor any guarantee that the petition will be reviewed.
The overwhelming majority of such requests are denied.

Salvadoran law does not allow compulsory exile.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The judiciary is only nominally independent and has been 
severely weakened by political pressures.  People who are 
well-connected politically, economically, or institutionally, 
generally enjoy immunity from prosecution.  Political 
affiliation and personal ties, rather than professional 
capabilities, appear to have been the traditional criteria used 
to appoint and reappoint judges.

The court structure is divided into four levels:  justices of 
the peace, courts of the first instance, courts of the second 
instance (appeals courts), and the Supreme Court.  Civilian 
courts exercise jurisdiction over military personnel who commit 
common (nonmilitary) crimes.  Jury verdicts can be neither 
overruled by a judge nor appealed to a higher court.  Sentences,
however, may be appealed up to the Supreme Court.  Under the 
Constitution, defendants have the right to a presumption of 
innocence; protection from self-incrimination; legal counsel; 
freedom from coercion; be present in court; the opportunity to 
confront witnesses; and compensation for damages due to 
judicial error.  Most of these rights, however, are frequently 
ignored in practice.

Some progress was made in addressing problems in the judiciary, 
improving the administrative functions of the courts, updating 
the legal codes, and improving the overall professionalism of 
the system.  The 11 members of the National Council of the 
Judiciary (NCJ), the newly independent body that screens and 
nominates judicial candidates, are now appointed by the 
National Assembly rather than by the Supreme Court.  Four are 
selected from a list of nominations made by the Supreme Court.  
In August the NCJ began screening and nominating judicial 
candidates, as well as evaluating sitting judges.  The NCJ also 
has responsibility for the judicial training school, formerly 
under the Supreme Court.  Nevertheless, there was still a 
troublesome overconcentration of administrative power in the 
Supreme Court, which controls the licensing of all attorneys, 
disciplinary action against attorneys and judges, and the 
removal of judges.

Two reforms were enacted that should eliminate significant 
delays and grant greater autonomy to the lower courts.  One 
repealed the requirement that all lower court decisions 
concerning offenses with a potential sentence of more than 
3 years (80 percent of all cases) be approved by a higher level 
court.  The other provided that the judge responsible for 
investigating whether there is sufficient evidence to bring the 
accused to trial will no longer be the same judge who presides 
over the trial.

All available evidence indicates that the Government holds no 
political prisoners.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

According to the Constitution, the police must have the 
resident's consent, a warrant, or a reasonable belief that a 
crime is being or is about to be committed, before entering a 
private dwelling.  In practice, forced entry without a warrant 
was frequently used to carry out arrests and investigations.  
Wiretapping of telephone communications by the Government, 
private persons, and political parties is illegal but commonly 

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Freedom of the press is provided for by the Constitution, and 
respected in practice.  There was only one reported incident of 
violence directed at the press in 1993, a significant 
improvement over previous years.  On November 1, 30 FMLN 
members staged a half-hour demonstration outside the 
conservative Diario de Hoy newspaper, protesting an editorial 
that suggested the murders of FMLN leaders were the product of 
internal purges.  The demonstrators burned tires and an effigy 
of the paper's owner.  During the year, the FRS threatened some 
radio and television stations with retaliation if they did not 
broadcast its communiques, but despite the refusal of some 
stations to comply, the threats were not carried out.

El Salvador has 5 daily newspapers, 8 television stations, 
approximately 150 radio stations, and 3 cable television 
systems.  The Government operates one television station and 
one radio station; the FMLN was allocated a VHF television 
frequency in September.  Both the Catholic Church and the ESAF 
have radio stations; the FMLN operates two broadband and 
several shortwave radio stations.  Print and broadcast 
journalists from across a wide political spectrum regularly 
criticize the Government and report opposition views, although 
reporting by the predominantly conservative media tends to 
support the Government.  The Government did not use direct or 
indirect means to control the media.  However, most media 
owners are highly successful businessmen, and the reported news 
often reflects market pressures and advertisers' interests.

Academic freedom is provided for by the Constitution and is 
respected in practice.  University autonomy prohibits law 
enforcement officials from entering public campuses, and this 
also was respected in 1993.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Any association not formed for criminal purposes is legal and 
permitted.  Numerous political, professional, religious, labor, 
and social organizations, including those allied with the FMLN, 
operate without legal restriction.  Organizations in general 
encounter bureaucratic delays when applying for legal 
recognition, but this did not appear directed at any one 
group.  Since the signing of the peace accords, FMLN members 
and others on the left held or freely participated in open 
forums and political rallies throughout the country.  
Contentious political issues were regularly the subject of 
seminars, conferences, and media discussions.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Constitution and is 
respected.  Roman Catholicism is the official religion and 
practiced by approximately 75 percent of the population, but 
other faiths, mostly evangelical Protestantism, have grown 
rapidly in popularity.  These groups practice without hindrance.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The Constitution establishes the right of free movement.  
Article 97 states that foreigners may not involve themselves in 
the internal political affairs of the country, and the 
Government reserves the right to deny entry to, or deport, 
foreigners believed to violate that section of the law.  
Freedom of movement throughout the country is permitted by the 
Government.  There are no restrictions on citizens changing 
their residence or workplace.  A major effort by the Government 
to issue or replace citizen documentation in the 115 
municipalities affected by the armed conflict continued in 1993.

The Government has provisions for granting asylum and refugee 
status.  Since the end of the regional conflicts in Central 
America, the number of refugees in El Salvador has declined to 
very few.  The Government imposes no control on emigration and 
cooperates with international organizations that arrange 
Salvadoran emigration to other countries.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

The Salvadoran people exercise the right to change their 
government peacefully through regularly scheduled elections.  
Past elections have been judged free and fair, notwithstanding 
the climate of fear and violence perpetrated by both government 
and rebel forces during the civil war.  The President and Vice 
President are elected every 5 years.  Legislative and municipal 
elections are held every 3 years.  Elections for all national 
and local offices will be held in March 1994, and ONUSAL has 
been invited to certify them.  It established an electoral 
division in June to oversee the electoral process.  Various 
other nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) are also expected 
to observe the elections.  The President is constitutionally 
barred from reelection to a second consecutive term.  Voting is 
by secret ballot, and there is universal suffrage.

The last 11 mayors elected in 1991, whom the FMLN had prevented 
from assuming their offices in the former conflict areas, 
returned to their municipalities by February, and local 
governmental functions in these areas began to return to normal.

The field of political parties continued to expand in 1993.  
The FMLN, inscribed as a political party in December 1992, 
announced its political candidates and began campaigning for 
the 1994 general elections.  The Supreme Electoral Tribunal 
(TSE) approved the Unity Movement and the Free People's Party 
as new political parties, bringing to 10 the total number of 
duly registered parties.  The TSE organized a massive campaign 
to reach the 750,000 eligible voters without voter cards by 
November, focusing on the underrepresented, primarily youth and 
women; the latter totaled 60 percent of citizens without voter 
cards, according to the TSE.  To encourage registration 
further, the National Assembly passed a law in September making 
the voter registration card a required document for 
identification purposes as of March 1, 1994.  The registration 
drive, completed November 20, was successful, though 
applications were still being processed at the end of the 
year.  It is estimated that at least 85 percent of eligible 
voters will be able to vote in the March election. 

The number of women in politics is small but growing.  A Vice 
President of the National Assembly is a woman, as are 7 other 
Assembly Deputies, out of 84.  Three Cabinet Ministers are 
female, as are 33 of 262 mayors.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

A number of nongovernmental human rights organizations, 
including the Catholic Church's Tutela Legal and the Human 
Rights Commission (CDHES), operated actively without government 
interference.  Frequently echoing FMLN positions, the CDHES 
focuses primarily on alleged abuses by the Government.  The 
CDHES also follows cases through the investigation and trial 
stages, provides free legal assistance, and publishes monthly 
reports.  Tutela Legal, the human rights office of the 
Archdiocese of San Salvador, also focuses on allegations of 
government abuses, follows cases, and publishes periodic 
reports.  Numerous other church, labor, and university groups 
and NGO's have human rights offices that operate without legal 
restriction.  In addition, various international human rights 
groups visit or operate without government restrictions.

The first Human Rights Ombudsman was elected by the National 
Assembly in 1992.  As the only human rights organization 
specifically established by the Constitution, the Ombudsman's 
Office (PDDH) is charged with receiving allegations of human 
rights abuses committed by government officials, investigating 
them and, if warranted, lodging official complaints against 
specific officials.  The PDDH supplanted the Human Rights 
Commission (CDH) as the officially mandated human rights 
monitoring organization.  

The United Nations Observer Mission (ONUSAL) is mandated to 
verify and monitor implementation of agreements between the 
Government and the FMLN, to investigate alleged human rights 
violations, and to conduct educational and public awareness 
campaigns promoting human rights.  It makes recommendations to 
the Government and the FMLN and also reports directly to the 
U.N. Secretary General.  In its July report, ONUSAL found that 
the overall human rights situation continued to improve, but 
noted continued human rights abuses and a serious problem with 
common crime.  Its October report noted concern over a serious 
regression in the human rights situation, most notably the 
increase in extrajudicial killings of political leaders and the 
generally rising crime rate.  On the positive side, ONUSAL 
praised the continuing progress in implementing institutional 
changes to protect human rights, and the absence of any 
verifiable cases of disappearances in 1993.

The PDDH began investigating reports of human rights abuses in 
July 1992.  As of June 1993, the PDDH had received over 2,000 
reports, and it opened regional offices in Santa Ana, San 
Miguel, and San Vicente.  The number of reports received 
monthly jumped to 300 in July and over 400 in August.  The PDDH 
budget for 1994, approximately $2.5 million, is double 1993's 
budget but still inadequate to duplicate ONUSAL's human rights 
monitoring operation when it terminates its mission in 1994.  
ONUSAL has praised the progress made by the PDDH since its 
inception, but some human rights groups have expressed concerns 
about the PDDH's capabilities.  The PDDH should gain both 
experience and stature in 1994 through the involvement of its 
director as part of the Joint Group established on December 8 
to investigate possible political violence since the peace 

The PDDH lodged public complaints of human rights abuses 
against various government agencies, most frequently the PN and 
the judiciary, and in numerous cases made specific 
recommendations for improvements in procedures and even for 
indemnification of victims.  Some of the PDDH's complaints and 
recommendations were ignored.  The PDDH publicly criticized the 
chief of the PN Fifth Command in San Miguel for refusing to 
cooperate with judicial investigations of human rights abuses.  
The PDDH said, however, that a number of institutions did act 
on its recommendations in a satisfactory manner.  The Executive 
Anti-Narcotics Unit, for example, agreed to obtain judicial 
search warrants prior to entry.  The PN antiriot unit agreed 
not to use war weapons to control demonstrations.  Other 
institutions, including the San Salvador municipal police and 
the ESAF 2nd infantry brigade, took corrective actions 
following violations of administrative due process.  

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The Constitution states that all people are equal before the 
law and prohibits discrimination based on nationality, race, 
sex, or religion.


Women are granted the same legal rights as men under the 
Constitution, but suffer discrimination in practice.  To 
improve the situation of women and children, the National 
Assembly passed a new Family Code in October.  The new Code 
updates some laws that discriminated against women and 
children, most notably those living in informal unions.  
Spousal rights are granted to those who can prove that they 
lived together as a couple for at least 3 years, a status 
similar to common law marriage, significant because a large 
percentage of couples never officially marry.

Women also suffer from economic discrimination and do not have 
equal access to credit and land ownership.  Wages paid to 
professional women remain lower than those paid to men in the 
same profession, and women in nonprofessional jobs are 
generally also paid less than similarly qualified men.  
Sixty-five percent of the economically active female population 
work in the informal economy.  Training geared to females tends 
to focus on areas where they are already employed and on 
generally low-income occupations:  teaching, nursing, home 
industries, or small businesses.

Violence against women, including domestic violence, is 
widespread.  The Isidro Menendez Judicial Center received 564 
reports of sexual violence against women in 1992, and it 
estimates that only 5 percent of total cases were reported.  
Hospitals reported a monthly average of 56 rapes in the capital 
city of San Salvador from January to September, while the 
police received only three reports per month in the same 
period.  To increase reporting of rapes, victims have been 
encouraged, through a regular newspaper campaign by the 
Attorney General's office, to come forward and press charges 
immediately after the assault has occurred.  Since 1991 a 
public prosecutor has been on duty 24 hours a day at the San 
Salvador children's hospital to assist rape victims and their 
families in taking legal action.  Nevertheless, prosecution of 
rape cases is difficult because of pervasive cultural attitudes.

There are over 100 women's organizations to assist low-income 
women, and women's issues have been raised in the 1994 election 
campaign.  Major concerns for women's rights groups are equal 
rights, unemployment, access to credit and skills training, 
illiteracy, health services, family planning, child care, and 
violence against women.


The Government recognizes its responsibility for children's 
rights and welfare, though this is reflected more in its 
efforts to reduce poverty and promote family stability through 
economic growth than in direct expenditure on children.  The 
1994 government budget for the Institute for the Protection of 
Children is $4.6 million, a 57-percent increase over 1993.  
Given the magnitude of children's health and welfare problems, 
the increased spending levels are still insufficient.  In the 
context of total resources available to the Government, 
however, expenditures are substantial.  In addition, 
$41 million in Salvadoran debt payments over the next 20 years 
will be placed in an account to fund child survival and 
environmental programs.

The new Family Code updates laws dealing with children, gives 
equal rights to children born out of wedlock, and tightens 
adoption procedures.  Sexual abuse of children is another 
problem receiving growing attention.  The San Salvador 
children's hospital treated between four and five cases per day 
of sexually abused children in 1993.  Child malnutrition and 
the large numbers of orphans are also significant problems.  

     Indigenous People

El Salvador is an ethnically homogeneous country, though a 
small segment of the population claims to have descended solely 
from indigenous peoples.  The last census of Indians in El 
Salvador showed 80,000 in 1930, or 5.6 percent of the 
population.  In 1932 approximately 30,000 were killed by 
government forces following an abortive uprising.  In the face 
of such repression, most remaining indigenous people adopted 
local customs and successfully assimilated into the general 
population.  There remain a few very small communities of 
indigenous people who still wear traditional dress, speak their 
native language, and maintain traditional customs without 
repression or interference.  The Salvadoran National Indigenous 
Association (ANIS), headquartered in Sonsonate, promotes 
indigenous culture and language.  The civil and political 
rights of indigenous people and their ability to participate in 
decisions affecting their lands, traditions, and allocation of 
natural resources are protected and respected by the Government 
to the same extent as other Salvadorans of comparable 
socioeconomic status.  

     People with Disabilities

Except for the war wounded, who have secured both government 
and international funding for rehabilitation and retraining 
programs, the Government has no program to combat 
discrimination against the disabled, nor are there any laws 
mandating provision of access for people with disabilities.  

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The 1983 Constitution prohibits the Government from using 
nationality, race, sex, creed, or political philosophy to 
prevent workers or employers from organizing themselves into 
unions or associations.  Full realization of the freedom of 
association called for in the Constitution has been impeded by 
numerous and sometimes conflicting laws governing labor 
relations; the current Labor Code prohibits partisan political 
activity by unions.  This prohibition is routinely ignored; 
eight labor leaders currently serve in the National Assembly, 
and labor continued to play an important role in partisan 

In the 1992 peace accords, the Government committed itself to 
seek consensus on revised labor legislation through a 
socioeconomic forum with equal representation from labor 
(including groups aligned with the FMLN), government, and the 
private sector.  During 1993, labor, the private sector, and 
the Government moved haltingly toward producing a revised Labor 
Code.  In August the forum sectors signed a tripartite 
agreement on approval of certain International Labor 
Organization (ILO) conventions, granting legal status to labor 
unions and associations and establishing a framework to govern 
labor relations.  ILO technical experts informally assisted the 
parties to review international labor conventions, and the 
forum submitted 11 to the Assembly for ratification.  The ILO 
also reviewed and made recommendations for reforming the 
existing Labor Code and other labor legislation, including the 
Organic Law for the Ministry of Labor.

The ILO recommended 49 changes to the Labor Code.  Although the 
socioeconomic forum discussed these recommendations through 
early December, it was unable to agree on a draft to submit to 
the Assembly.  The Government then submitted its own version of 
the ILO recommendations to the Assembly, based on what it 
believed to be fair compromises between positions held by labor 
and business in the forum talks.  The ILO reviewed the 
Government's version and reported that there were no significant
changes from its original recommendations.  The legislation is 
scheduled to be debated and voted on in early 1994.  Most 
importantly, the proposed changes would streamline the process 
required to form a union; extend union rights to agricultural, 
independent, and small-business workers; and extend the right 
to strike to union federations (at the present time only 
unions, not union federations, have the right to call a 
strike).  The Government has not sought ratification of ILO 
conventions on freedom of association because this would 
require changes in the Constitution.

There are approximately 150 active unions, public employee 
associations, and peasant organizations, which represent over 
300,000 Salvadorans, approximately 20 percent of the total work 
force.  Unions are not under pressure to affiliate with the 
Government or other political forces; nevertheless, many labor 
organizations have close ties to various political groups.  
Labor alliances change frequently, but the Intergremial, an 
umbrella organization including most major labor organizations, 
continued to enjoy the prominence it gained with the 1991 
presentation of a draft labor code and labor's participation in 
the forum.  The current Labor Code forbids foreigners from 
holding leadership positions in unions, but unions freely 
affiliate with international labor organizations.

Only private sector nonagricultural workers have the right to 
form unions and strike; employees of nine autonomous public 
agencies may form unions but not strike.  Nevertheless, workers 
from other sectors, including the public sector, have carried 
out strikes that, while technically illegal, were treated as 
legitimate.  Even in sectors where the right to strike exists, 
strikes are sometimes technically illegal as labor and 
management often ignore the onerous and time-consuming legal 
requirements to settle labor disputes.  Public sector strikes, 
though illegal, are frequent and are generally settled through 
negotiations between public employee associations and the 
Government.  Mandatory arbitration of public sector disputes is 
provided for under the Labor Code.  Proposed changes to the 
Labor Code would give the right to form unions and strike to 
all private sector workers and streamline legal requirements.

In August members of the public health workers' union began a 
strike to demand a salary increase, a designated hospital for 
their use and that of their family members, and improved 
hospital conditions.  Pointing to the public sector status of 
the union's members, the Government refused to meet the 
strikers' demands and fired a number of them.  After nearly a 
month, the Government and most of the organizations backing the 
strike reached a compromise agreement; the Government agreed to 
reinstate fired workers, drop legal proceedings against them, 
and consider a salary raise.  There were credible reports, 
however, that the Government failed to reinstate all fired 
workers to their previously held positions and pay, that some 
striking employees lost their seniority, and that legal 
proceedings continued against some of the union officials.

Antiunion actions before a union is legally registered are 
prohibited; however, in practice, there are credible charges 
that the Government impeded union registration through exacting 
reviews of union documentation and strict interpretation of the 
Constitution, Labor Code, and union statutes.  Under the 
February "Agreement on Principles and Commitments," signed by 
government, labor, and private sector representatives, the 
Government agreed to review previously denied applications for 
legal status among both private sector unions and agricultural 
and public sector associations.  The Minister of Labor, whom 
labor had accused in 1992 of conspiring with management to 
frustrate union registration by informing management of 
potential legal challenges to a registration application, was 
replaced in 1993.

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) 
alleged in 1993 that signing the peace accords had not 
succeeded in checking the abuse of trade union rights, citing 
reports from its affiliate, FENASTRAS, of the killing of 20 
trade unionists in 1992, many by death squads; other instances 
of death threats against trade union leaders and instances of 
abductions; continued denial by the Government of the 
registration of a union at the ADOC shoe factory; and other 
incidents involving antiunion discrimination and the firing of 
workers for trade union activities.  In a report released in 
November, however, an ILO direct contact mission stated that no 
persons were being detained for trade union activities, that 
there had been no further searches of trade union premises, and 
that violence against trade unionists had declined substantially
in the previous year.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The right of collective bargaining is granted in both the 
Constitution and the existing Labor Code, but public sector 
employees are not covered in either.  The Labor Code grants 
this right only to employees in the private sector and in 
autonomous agencies of the Government, such as utilities and 
the port authority.  However, both private sector unions (by 
law) and public sector employee associations (in practice) use 
the mechanism of collective bargaining extensively.  Labor Code 
protection for agricultural workers, now inadequate, would be 
expanded by proposed Labor Code reforms.

The Ministry of Labor is responsible for overseeing the 
implementation of collective bargaining agreements and acting 
as conciliator in labor disputes in the private sector and 
autonomous government institutions.  In practice, government 
ministers and the heads of autonomous government institutions 
often negotiate with labor organizations directly, relying on 
the Labor Ministry only for such duties as officially 
certifying unions.  The Ministry of Labor often seeks to 
conciliate labor disputes through informal channels rather than 
attempting strictly to enforce regulations, leading to charges 
of bias against labor.  Corruption continues to be another 
serious problem affecting labor courts.

The Constitution prohibits discrimination against unions.  It  
provides that union officials at the time of their election, 
throughout their term, and for 1 year following their term 
shall not be fired, suspended for disciplinary reasons, 
removed, or demoted except for legal cause.  This provision is 
generally observed in practice, but in some cases those 
attempting to form unions have been fired before receiving 
union credentials.  Employers are required to rehire employees 
fired for any type of union activity, though this requirement 
is sometimes not enforced.

There are four functioning export processing zones (EPZ's) and 
two more under construction.  Labor regulations in these zones 
are identical to those throughout the country.  Companies 
operating in the EPZ's, while providing higher salaries and 
benefits than companies outside the EPZ's, strongly discourage 
organizing and in some cases have fired workers attempting to 
organize.  The ICFTU's allegation that "all attempts to form 
trade unions in free trade zones have led to the dismissal of 
the workers concerned," is too broad, but the point that 
unionization efforts encounter strong resistance in the EPZ's 
is valid.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Constitution prohibits forced or compulsory labor except in 
the case of calamity and other instances specified by law.  
This provision is followed in practice.  The ILO Committee of 
Experts continued to criticize provisions in the Penal Code 
which allow the imposition of penalties involving compulsory 
labor against companies for activities related to the 
expression of political opinion.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The Constitution prohibits the employment of children under the 
age of 14.  Exceptions may be made only where such employment 
is absolutely indispensable to the sustenance of the minor and 
his family, most often the case with children of peasant 
families who traditionally work with their families during 
planting and harvesting seasons.  Children also frequently work 
as vendors and general laborers in small businesses, especially 
in the informal sector.  Parents of children in circumstances 
such as these often do not allow their children to complete 
schooling through the ninth grade as the law requires, since 
the labor which the children perform is considered vital to the 
family.  Child labor is not a problem in the industrial 
sector.  The Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing 
child labor laws.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

In January the Government passed legislation raising the 
minimum wages for commercial, industrial, service, and 
agroindustrial employees; over the course of the year the 
Government increased the minimum wage on two occasions by a 
total of 22 percent.  The new rate for industrial and service 
workers was about $3.50 (31 colones) per day; agricultural 
workers must be paid about $2.35 (20 colones) in wages, 
including a food allowance, per day.  Despite these increases, 
minimum wages are generally inadequate to meet the Ministry of 
Economy's standard of basic necessity.  An estimated 40 percent 
of the population lives below the poverty level.  The Labor 
Ministry is responsible for enforcing minimum wage laws and 
does so effectively in the formal sector.  Accurate statistics 
are not available for the large informal sector.

The law limits the workday to 6 hours for minors between 14 and 
18 years of age and 8 hours for adults.  Premium pay is 
mandated for longer hours.  The Labor Code sets a maximum 
normal workweek of 44 hours, requiring overtime pay for 
additional work and limiting the workweek to no more than 
6 days.

The Constitution and the Labor Code require employers, including
the Government, to take steps to ensure that employees are not 
placed at risk in their workplaces, and prohibit the employment 
of persons under 18 years of age and all women in occupations 
considered hazardous.  Nevertheless, Salvadoran health and 
safety regulations are outdated, and inadequate enforcement 
remains a problem.  The Ministry of Labor attempts to enforce 
the applicable regulations and conducts investigations which 
sometimes lead to fines or other findings favoring workers.  
The Ministry has very limited powers to enforce compliance, 
however, and has suffered severe cutbacks in human resources to 
carry out certification and inspection duties, which severely 
limited its effectiveness.

[end of document]


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