El Salvador

An overview of how the Global Compact on Refugees is being turned into action in El Salvador.
MIRPS - Regional response in Central America and Mexico

El Salvador

An overview of how the Global Compact on Refugees is being turned into action in El Salvador.
A girl plays the violin

Displaced youths and members of the host community take part in a music workshop in San Esteban Catarina, El Salvador.

1. Description of refugee situation

Where does the population of concern live?

Mostly in urban settings.

Populations of concern and figures as of June 2020

Refugees: 48

Asylum seekers: 45

Internally displaced persons: 71,500 

Deportee persons with protection needs: 3,700

(Source: Data provided by Government and partners to UNHCR) 

For more information, visit the UNHCR Refugee Data Finder, information and fact sheets on the refugee situation in El Salvador on the Global Focus and the Operational Portal.

Map displaying location of El Salvador

2. El Salvador's response to the refugee situation

El Salvador is undertaking efforts to enhance protection mechanisms, the legal framework and policies to protect internally displaced persons and others individuals who are forced to flee. 

Some of the continued work to develop this capacity includes technical support to the Government, in particular to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security through its Directorate of Victims, to support their efforts to meet the protection needs of the internally displaced population.

In 2018, a report on the ‘profiling study on internal displacement’ ’ revealed that in just over 1% of the families residing in the country, at least one of its members was forced to change her or his place of residence inside the country between 2006 and 2016 as a result of, or to avoid, violence. It also revealed that approximately 71,500 individuals are affected by internal displacement in El Salvador.

In line with its concern over this situation and in search of permanent solutions, the Government of El Salvador joined the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS in Spanish) in 2019. Since then, efforts have been made to bolster its strategy to address the causes of forced displacement in line with the GCR.

To this end, a technical team has been set up, bringing together government institutions such as the Ministries of Justice and Public Security, of Foreign Affairs, of Interior and Territorial Development, of Local Development, Education, Labour, and Health. This responds to the Government’s vision to work in an articulated manner to make a meaningful impact on the population through different projects, and implement the National Plan under the MIRPS. 


MIRPS National Action Plan in El Salvador

Since joining the MIRPS, El Salvador is highly committed to address forced displacement, defining a comprehensive National Action Plan that involves 7 line-ministries. Despite challenges posed by Covid-19, during 2020 the country managed to advance more than 15 commitments, particularly in the areas of protection and education, including the IDP Law approval, hiring and specialized training of staff, adequation of a shelter, enhancement of asylum capacity, definition of a roadmap for the protection of displaced children and adolescents in the education system, among others. During 2021, efforts will be focused in the areas of education, health, and livelihoods / jobs, as priorities to reduce greater vulnerability of POC, as well partnership-building with relevant cooperation actors to cover gaps and reach goals.

Plan El Salvador

Learn more about the MIRPS National Action Plan here.


MIRPS Quantification in El Salvador

Through the quantification process undertaken in 2020, each MIRPS State assessed the financial needs and activities required to implement their priority commitments from their entire national plan, highlighting where they can meet their own needs, and where international cooperation is required.

El Salvador is expanding its operational capacity to respond to forced displacement in the region through the adoption and implementation of the commitments inof their National Action Plan.
In 2021 El Salvador prioritized three areascommitments which were also pledged during the Global Refugee Forum: Strengthening capacity of the national education system to mitigate and respond to instances of forced displacement amongst the school age population, Investments in the national health system to provide targeted health and psychosocial services to internally displaced people (IDP`s); and, the expansion of opportunities access work and livelihood opportunities to support self-reliance.

Quant El Salvador


Learn more about the MIRPS Quantification in El Salvador here. Find the MIRPS Quantification here.


Which partnerships have been strengthened or have been made possible thanks to the implementation of the Global Compact of Refugees?

Strategic alliances have been established between government entities involved in child protection, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ombudsman Office, the Salvadorian Institute for Women Development (ISDEMU) to enhance the protection of persons affected by forced displacement. Using the coordination platform made available by MIRPS, the Government of El Salvador will support new strategic partnerships with a wide diversity of actors from civil society, international cooperation, private sector, the United Nations system, local governments to strengthen national capacities and legal frameworks for protection. These mechanisms shelters, comprehensive care centers, and protocols of action, but also involve the promotion of bills such as the Special Law for the Attention and Protection to Internally Displaced Persons, the Law for the granting of “International Protection and Statelessness”, and the dissemination of the new Law for Migration.

Partners involved

Line Ministries:  

  • Ministry of Justice and Public Security;  
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs;  
  • Ministry of Interior and Territorial Development;  
  • Ministry of Local Development; 
  • Ministry of Education;  
  • Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Health 
  • National Council for the Protection of the Child and Adolescent  
  • National Institute for the Comprehensive Protection and Care of Children and Adolescent 
  • Salvadorian Institute to Women Development 
  • Local Governments 


Local NGOs:  

  • Aldeas Infantiles SOS 

International NGOs: 

  • Plan International 
  • Save the Children 
  • International Committee of the Red Cross ICRC 
  • Norwegian Refugee Council - NRC 
  • Caritas El Salvador 
  • International Rescue Committee – IRC 
  • World Vision 
  • Medicos del Mundo 
  • Medicos sin Fronteras 
  • Spanish Red Cross 

3. Steps towards meeting the objectives of the Compact

Partnerships established to advance on education, livelihoods, health and social inclusion are already transforming the lives of displaced people and their host communities.

Working towards achieving the objectives of the Global Compact, El Salvador has implemented the following measures: 

prot iconProtection

Reinforced national protection institutions to identify, refer and protect deported persons with protection needs at the reception center, borders and consular networks.  

Strengthened the institutional response of the National Directorate of Attention to Victims, Displacement and Forced Migration, and coordination with key actors to increase the protection capacity of forcibly displaced persons.

Created and expanded safe spaces and shelters, specifically aimed at protecting women, children and families. 


jobs iconJobs and livelihoods

Implemented community-based livelihoods and cash-based interventions   across the country to strengthen the resilience of local populations who are impacted by forced displacement and people who are at risk due to violence. These interventions are supported by UNHCR and the World Food Programme and include, prevention, protection and solutions mechanisms.

Support to local governments to help them respond to humanitarian needs of internally displaced persons and work with key actors to bring affected communities closer to durable solutions. To this end, the Corporation of Municipalities of El Salvador (COMURES) will be part of a strategic framework that comprises three phases: mapping of relevant actors and existing pathways to assist victims of violence, assessing needs, and creating standardized local pathways.

Pledges and contributions made by El Salvador



Pledges and contributions dashboard (interactive by Area of Focus)

This dashboard includes all pledges and contributions made towards the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees in El Salvador, including national pledges made by the Government of El Salvador itself.