El Salvador: charter to recognize indigenous rights

In an historic vote on June 12, El Salvador's national Legislative Assembly ratified a reform to the nation's constitution that recognizes indigenous peoples and the state's obligations to them. The newly reformed Article 63 reads: "El Salvador recognizes Indigenous Peoples and will adopt policies for the purpose of maintaining and developing their ethnic and cultural identities, cosmovision, values and spirituality." All parties in the Assembly gave their votes to the amendment, save the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party.

The reform's passage will serve to establish mechanisms for indigenous organizations in national decision-making spaces and serve as a framework to guarantee rights and protections for El Salvador's indigenous communities, among them the Cacaopera, Chorotega, Lenca, Pipil and Xinca. "This is a historic debt that we have to our roots and to our identity," said President Salvador Sánchez Cerén, who thanked the Legislative Assembly for ratifying the amendment. (CISPES, June 19)