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Increasing violence against women
Latinamerica Press
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Honduras is one of the most dangerous places to be a woman in Central America.

Experts of the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) expressed their concern about the dramatic rise of violent deaths of women and femicides in the country in recent years.
The Observatory of Violence of the UNAH published its annual report last August which reveals the alarming extent of femicides in this Central American country.  In this fifth edition titled “Violent death of women and femicides” which covers the period from January to December 2012 it states that in the last eight years the data about the evolution of violent deaths and femicides “reflect a worrying panorama of sharp increase”.

According to the report, there has been a rise in violent deaths and femicides in 246.3 percent between 2005 and 2012. The document states that in 2012 there were 606 violent deaths of women, of which 52.6 percent were femicides, with 319 deaths. Of the total of femicides, the 59.6 percent were related to organized crime.

Migdonia Ayestas, director of the Observatory of Violence, stressed in a filmed interview: “The percentage that is most worrying is the one related to organized crime. It is not exactly because women (...) are undertaking illegal activities, it is rather their partners who are linked to it, they [the women] live in contexts which are permeated by organized crime.”

The problem of impunity
In April this year Law 23-2013 was passed in order to reform the penal code now including femicides as a criminal offence which is punished with prison sentences between 30 and 40 years. Impunity, however, is still a severe problem in dealing with femicides.

Interviewed by La Prensa, judge Ramón Enrique Barrios stated that “impunity means that a murderer of women, someone who kills a woman, has a 70 percent chance in our country of not being detected as the perpetrator. The scarce investigation [that is undertaken] is the big failure of the judicial system of Honduras.”

According to the National Commission of Human Rights more than 90 percent of perpetrators are “unknown” to authorities in charge of investigations.

In response to the alarming rise in femicides the United Nations in cooperation with several women´s right organizations launched two campaigns this year. July´s campaign “Cairo+20. Moving from promise to action” focuses on gender equality and as the one launched in September, “The brave ones are not violent”, its aim is to reduce violence against women by raising awareness and sensitizing the public in general and men in particular.
—Latinamerica Press.

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