First Lady Vanda Pignato, who also holds the government position of Secretary of Social Inclusion, has denounced a decision by the director of El Salvador’s Forensics Institute (Medicina Legal) to remove representatives of the institution from the country’s network of women’s services centers. Forensics Institute staff, who conducted medical investigations in cases of sexual assault and domestic abuse, were withdrawn from two of El Salvador’s five Women’s City (Ciudad Mujer) centers, which provide free legal, medical and employment services to the nation’s women. According to Pignato, the staff that was pulled from Ciudad Mujer informed her that Forensics Institute Director Miguel Fortín ordered their removal and declared that until the right-wing ARENA party returns to power there will be no Forensics Institute representatives in the Women’s Cities.
In a press conference on Friday, February 28, Pignato denounced the politically motivated move by Fortín, saying that the removal of Forensics Institute staff violates an agreement signed between Ciudad Mujer and the institution. Pignato called on the Supreme Court to order the Forensics Institute to fulfill the agreement and return their staff to the women’s centers. “I’m not asking them as a favor, I’m asking that they fulfill [their obligations] to the women of El Salvador,” she said. The First Lady added that she been unable to discuss the issue with the Supreme Court because a group of magistrates “harbor resentments” against her after she made public the fact that one of the magistrates has two domestic abuse convictions. Read this Spanish-language article in Verdad Digital for more information.