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El Salvador: Provisions concerning the kidnapping or forcible confinement of children in the context of domestic violence; possibility of filing a complaint against a parent who disappears with a child; steps that can be taken by a parent who is unable to see his or her child because the other parent is withholding the child (January 2005-June 2005)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Ottawa
Publication Date 30 June 2005
Citation / Document Symbol SLV100314.FE
Reference 1
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, El Salvador: Provisions concerning the kidnapping or forcible confinement of children in the context of domestic violence; possibility of filing a complaint against a parent who disappears with a child; steps that can be taken by a parent who is unable to see his or her child because the other parent is withholding the child (January 2005-June 2005), 30 June 2005, SLV100314.FE, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/440ed75311.html [accessed 30 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

No specific information on the provisions concerning the kidnapping or forcible confinement of children in the context of domestic violence, the possibility of filing a complaint against a parent who disappears with a child, or the steps that can be taken by a parent who is unable to see his or her child because the other parent is withholding the child could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints for this Response. However, the following information may be of interest.

Article 200 of the Salvadoran Penal Code provides for a sentence of six months to one year in prison for any act of domestic or family violence (El Salvador 26 Apr. 1997). Articles 148 and 149 of that same code state that any person found guilty of illegal deprivation of liberty can be punished by a sentence of three to six years in prison and, in the case of kidnapping (secuestro) accompanied by blackmail, the sentence ranges from 30 to 45 years in prison, with no possibility of parole (ibid.). Article 50 of the Penal Code refers to certain conditions that could aggravate the kidnapping offence and increase, by up to one third, the prison sentences just mentioned (ibid.). Included among those conditions is the kidnapping of a person under 18 years of age (ibid.).

Quoting various articles of the Salvadoran Family Code, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child provided the following information in a 22 October 2003 report on El Salvador:

The Family Code states that every child has the right to maintain relations with both parents when the child has been separated from the father or the mother except, according to article 351, when this would be contrary to the child's best interests (United Nations 22 Oct. 2003, para. 259). Articles 216 and 217 of the Family Code require that both parents share custody of their children if the parents separate (ibid., para. 260). If the parents are unable to agree on custody, a judge will decide which parent will have custody, taking into account the best interests of the child (ibid.). The Code also states that the separated parents must maintain a cordial relationship in order to respect the child's interests (ibid.).

Furthermore, in order to counter "illicit traffic of children abroad," article 208 of the Family Code states that both parents must provide authorization for their child to leave the country (ibid., para. 264).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

El Salvador. 26 April 1997. Código Penal – Decreto Legislativo No 1.030 del 26 de abril de 1997 (reformado 2002). (UNHCR Refworld 2004)

United Nations. 22 October 2003. Committee on the Rights of the Child. "El Salvador." Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention. (CRC/C/65/Add.25) [Accessed 29 June 2005]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Neither the Law Studies Foundation (Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho, FESPAD) nor the Missing Children Association (Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos) was able to provide information within the time constraints for this Response.

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), BBC Mundo, Casa Alianza, El Diario de Hoy, El Faro, European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOI), Freedom House, Hieros Gamos, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Organization of American States (OEA), Unicef, United States Department of State, World News Connection (WNC).

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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