Post cold war U.S.A. policies continue to influence the human rights policies of Salvadorans. As a result of these policies, many populations are marginalized as a result of neoliberal capitalism and the privatization of services such as healthcare, fresh water, social programs, and rights granted to specific groups (and consequently denied to other groups). Human rights issues are so politically relevant that the Salvadoran federal government maintains a Human Rights Ombudsman’s office, otherwise known as the National Counsel for the Defense of Human Rights.
What are the social justice issues?
Pertaining to human rights, many social issues come to the forefront of discussion. For example, how does a government effectively distribute wealth? How should they run and maintain social welfare programs? Should LGBTI rights be granted within the law? How should a government address poverty, agriculture, education, and healthcare?
We met with David Morales, the Procurator for the Defense of Human Rights (pictured above). Morales talked at length about the aforementioned issues, as well as many others, and how the current political party in power (FMLN) emphasizes education and healthcare above other issues. He mentioned that this seems to be especially effective in rural areas of El Salvador. He also talked about the employment rate in rural areas. These employment numbers tend to be skewed due to the amount of people that work in the informal sector. An important note: the present government in power does not address policies that directly influence labor issues.
We also met with a leader in the LGBTI community. Her discussion paralleled that of David Morales’s, where she focused on national and international human rights as well as the effects that human rights plays within the LGBTI community. El Salvador, along with other countries like the U.S.A., require significant changes in policies in order to create equity in issues related to human rights. These issues are detrimental to any and all citizens, but especially to marginalized groups, which makes voting, advocacy, and dialogue incredibly important to affect progress in human rights policies.