El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, criticized internationally for gang crackdown, tells UN it was the right thing to do

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Pres. Bukele talks at the UN General Assembly United Nations, Sept.20 (AP).– El Salvador President Nayib Bukele has trumpeted the success of his gang crackdown during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly. More than 7,000 have been released for lack of evidence of gang ties.

In March, the U.N. human rights office expressed concern over the year-long crackdown, noting widespread human rights violations, thousands of unsubstantiated arrests and dozens of in-custody deaths.

But at home, Bukele’s security policies are very popular. They will likely be the centerpiece of his re-election campaign next year, prohibited by El Salvador’s constitution but allowed by court justices selected by his supporters in the Legislative Assembly. Salvadoran police raid against "maras"

As Bukele noted Tuesday, Salvadorans can walk without fear in their neighborhoods and allow their children to play outside without the oppressive fear of gang recruitment and violence. In 2015, El Salvador was considered one of the world’s most violent places on Earth, recording 6,656 homicides or about 106 per 100,000 people. So far this year, the National Civil Police have registered 146 homicides through Sept. 18, more than 72% below the same period last year.

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