University of Minnesota

Report on the Situation of Human Rights in El Salvador, Inter-Am. C.H.R., OEA/Ser.L/V/II.46, Doc. 23 rev. 1 (1978).





American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man

Article VIII:

Every person has the right to fix his residence within the territory of the State of which he is a national, to move about freely within such territory, and not to leave it except by his own will [1]/

1. Closely related to the right to physical liberty is the right to resident and movement. Article VIII of the American Declaration provides that "every person has the right to fix his residence within the territory of the State of which he is a national, to move about freely within such territory, and not to leave it except by his own will.” Paragraph 5 of Article 22 of the American Convention on Human Rights states that “no one can be expelled from the territory of the State of which he is a national, or be deprived of the right to enter it.” Accordingly, the Constitution of El Salvador upholds this right by stating that “No Salvadoran may be expatriated, nor his entry into the Republic prohibited, nor may a passport or other documents of identification for his return be denied.”

2. During its visit, the Special Committee was told that many political leaders are in exile and that a number had been expatriated when the current President of the Republic was Minister of Defense under the previous government. The Special Committee also received a list containing the names of the exiled political leaders and their countries of exile.

The list appears below:

Exiled in Costa Rica

1. Dr. Fabio Castillo Figueroa

2. Dr. Miguel Angel Saenz Varela

3. Dr. Gabriel Gallegos Valdes

4. Dr. Mario Florres Macal

5. Mr. Manlio Argueta

6. Mr. Mario Moreira

7. Mr. José Alfredo Pineda Dubón

8. Col. Ernesto Claramount

9. Dr. José Antonio Morales Ehrlich

10. Mr. Roberto Maravilla

11. Dr. David Luna

12. Amílcar Martínez

Exiled in México

1. Dr. Rafael Menjívar

2. Major Pedro Guardado

3. Col. Benjamín Mejía

4. Ing. Manuel Reyes

5. Mr. David Trejos

6. Mr. Antonio Meza

7. Dr. Roberto Viera

8. Dr. Luis Arévalo

9. Dr. Mario Salazar Valiente

Exiled in Italy

1. Dr. Ivo Príamo Alvarenga

Exiled in Venezuela

1. Ing. José Napoleón Duarte

2. Dr. Gerardo Godoy

3. The Government, through the President himself claimed that most of the so-called political exiles were abroad as “tourists.”

4. In this regard, it should be pointed out that Article 154 of the Constitution states that every individual has the right to enter, remain in and leave the territory of the Republic … and that no Salvadoran may be expatriated of denied entry.

5. Special reference should be made to one case related to the members of the Special Committee during its visit. It involves Jose Napoleón Duarte, the former Mayor of San Salvador and a former presidential candidate on the Christian Democratic and the national opposition Union (UNO) ticket. The Salvadoran Government has refused to grant authorization for this individual to return to El Salvador from the forced exile in which he has been since 1972. During the Special committe0s audience with the President, General Carlos Humberto Romero, the latter told the members of the Special Committee that the decision to deny Dr. Duarte permission to re-enter El Salvador had been adopted by the Government itself.

6. Likewise, during its on-site visit, the Special Committee received information to the effect that a citizen of El Salvador, Dr. Ivo Príamo Alvarenga, an official of the FAO in Rome, Italy, had been kept from returning to Salvadoran territory.

7. In a communication recently received at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, it was denounced that Dr. Fabian Castillo Figueroa, a political leader and former university professor, who together with 14 other individuals had been expelled on July 22, 1972 from the country by the Government of Colonel Arturo Armando Molina, had attempted to return to San Salvador on march 8, 1978, claiming protection under the constitutional provision to the effect that no citizen may be denied entry and the statements made publicly by President, to the effect that all Salvadorans may enter their country. Dr. Castillo had arrived at the San Salvador airport at 8:00 a.m. on board an AVIATECA airplane from Guatemala; he was told that he would not be allowed to stay and that he was to return to Guatemala on the same plane. After having been detained by INTERPOL in Guatemala’s airport until 6:00 p.m. he boarded a plane bound for San José, Costa Rica.




[1] American Convention on Human Rights.

Article 22. Freedom of Movement and Residence

1. Every person lawfully in the territory of a State Party has the right to move about in it, and to reside in it subject to the provisions of the law.

2. Every person has the right to leave any country freely, including his own.

3. The exercise of the foregoing tights may be restricted only pursuant to a law to the extent necessary in a democratic society to prevent crime or to protect national security, public safety, public order, public morals, public health, or the rights or freedoms of others.

4. The exercise of the rights recognized in paragraph 1, may also be restricted by law in designated zones, for reasons of public interest.

5. No one can be expelled from the territory of the state of which he is a national or be deprived of the right to enter it.

6. An alien lawfully in the territory of a State party to his convention may be expelled from it only pursuant to a decision reached in accordance with law.

7. Every person has the right to seek and be granted asylum a foreign territory, in accordance with the legislation of the state and international convention, in the event he is being pursued for political offenses or related common crimes.

8. In no case may an alien de deported or returned to a country, regardless of whether or not it is his country of origin. If in that country his right to life or personal freedom is in danger of being violated because of his race, nationality, religion, social status, or political opinions.

9. The collective expulsion of aliens is prohibited.


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