N° 116/10




San Salvador, El Salvador, November 19, 2010—The IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of Women, Commissioner Luz Patricia Mejía Guerrero, carried out a visit to El Salvador on November 17-19, at the government's invitation. The main purpose of the visit was to compile information on the types of discrimination women face in El Salvador in the exercise of their economic, social, and cultural rights, as part of a hemisphere-wide report that the Office of the Rapporteur is preparing on the subject.


The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the current government's recognition that women are affected by various forms of discrimination in their daily life, as well as its willingness to adopt legislative measures, public policies, and programs to confront this problem. The IACHR also notes that the government has incorporated the principle of inclusion as a pivotal element of its public policies, to the benefit of groups that have historically been excluded from the public agenda, including women.


As part of the visit, on Friday, November 19, the IACHR organized two workshops to provide training to government employees at all levels and civil society organizations on the inter-American human rights system's standards and mechanisms in the area of discrimination and women's economic, social, and cultural rights.


The IACHR also took the opportunity to present the report Access to Maternal Health Services from a Human Rights Perspective, which was published August 2, 2010. This report sets an important precedent for the Commission in terms of protecting women's reproductive rights. It underscores the close link between States' human rights obligations and maternal health so as to ensure that all women, particularly those who have been marginalized historically, can enjoy effective access to adequate health care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the post-partum period. The report was presented on Thursday, November 18. Speakers at the event were Commissioner Luz Patricia Mejía; Georgina Alvarenga, representing the office of Women's National Policies on Health at the Salvadoran Institute for Women's Development (ISDEMU); Sofía Villalta, Coordinator of the Health Ministry's Office on Women; and Jeannette Urquilla, Executive Director of the Organization of Salvadoran Women for Peace (ORMUSA).


The Rapporteur and her delegation met with high-level government officials during the visit, including the First Lady and Secretary for Social Inclusion, Vanda Piganto; the Foreign Ministry's Deputy Minister of Cooperation for Development, Jaime Miranda; the Minister of Education, Salvador Sánchez Ceren; the Minister of Public Health and Social Assistance, María Isabel Rodríguez; the Minister of Labor, Marina de Avilés; the Executive Director of the ISDEMU, Julia Evelyn Martínez; the Human Rights Ombudsman, Oscar Luna; the Deputy Minister of Justice and Public Security, Alvaro Henry Campos Solórzano; Justice Mirna Perla, Magistrate of the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice; the Deputy Minister for Trade and Cooperation, Mario Cerna; and the Executive Director of the National Commission on Micro and Small Business (CONAMYPE), Ileana Rogel. The Rapporteur also met with representatives in El Salvador of the United Nations Interagency Gender Working Group and with civil society organizations and networks. The Commission also received valuable information from international cooperation agencies and civil society organizations on the progress made and challenges remaining in the protection and promotion of the economic, social, and cultural rights of women in El Salvador.


The IACHR hopes that the State of El Salvador will ratify without delay other key international instruments for the exercise of women's economic, social, and cultural rights, such as the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. The IACHR also believes it is important for the State to strengthen the existing legal framework to address forms of discrimination and violence against women that are suffered by women in El Salvador, and to adopt measures to guarantee that existing legislation is implemented appropriately and effectively.


The IACHR thanks the government of El Salvador for its hospitality and its cooperation in the planning and implementation of the schedule of activities. It also thanks the government of Spain for the financial contribution that made this visit possible. The Commission would also like to express its appreciation to the government authorities, civil society organizations, international agencies, and experts for the information and cooperation they provided.


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 Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.


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