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A recent report suggested that if the current cessation of hostilities breaks down, as it appears to be doing, the C.I.A. plans to provide “more-powerful” weapons to “moderate” Syrian rebels. But this wasn’t the only recent announcement of a shifting policy to train and equip the Syrian rebels. This month, the Pentagon began a new program to train and equip Syrian rebels to combat Islamic State militants, but it’s still unclear if the program will be able to overcome the past problems.  

This upcoming event will discuss the Obama Admainistration's proposed rule to reduce oversight of many types of U.S. private security contractor

The United States should ensure that its aid and diplomacy towards El Salvador supports a balanced, rights-respecting approach to El Salvador’s citizen security crisis.

The solutions to El Salvador’s security problems are neither easy, nor immediate. It will be a long and difficult road for El Salvador to address the issues at the core of the violence and insecurity ravaging the country. But there are things that can be done to improve conditions in the short term and set the country on a path to see peace and justice. U.S. policies and assistance can be part of the problem or part of the solution.  

El Salvador’s mounting security crisis has been met by a heavy-handed government response, which centers on sending the military and police into the streets to outgun the gangs and filling the country’s jails with even the lowest-ranking of alleged gang members. Beyond escalating violence and presenting extremely serious human rights concerns, this plan is simply not working. But, as 2016 unfolds, the government has a chance to set a new course and roll out an existing strategy to curb the violence.

After the murder of three transgender activists and the brutal beating of a transgender man, the Salvadoran legislature passed a hate-crime law in September 2015, placing El Salvador among a handful of Latin American nations with such laws to protect LGBTI citizens. The reforms to the legal code increased the sentences of those convicted of killing someone because of their sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, political affiliation or gender.

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