Monday, August 29, 2011

Femicide: The Greatest Human Rights Violation for Women in Honduras

The femicide epidemic continues unabated in Honduras, with the discovery in the past week of the bodies of 12 women nationwide murdered by relatives or unknown assailants. According to Human Rights Commissioner Ramón Custodio, approximately 2,400 women have died violently in Honduras since 2002, including a total of 351 in 2010, compared to 407 in 2009 and 252 in 2008, based on data from the country's National Institute for Women (INAM). One femicide case is registered every 48 hours in Honduras. "One of the findings, up to now, is that 70 percent of the victims ranged in age from 15 to 40 years, although those most exposed to dying violently are women between 20 and 24," said Mr. Custodio. Of that figure, "83 percent were the victims of firearms, 14 percent of sharp instruments, while the rest died from suffocation, strangling and from other violent causes."

Mr. Custodio noted that femicide is "the greatest violation of human rights and the most serious crime of violence against women for the cruelty of the perpetrator in mutilating, dismembering or leaving marks on the body of the victim."

Femicide is defined as "the systematic killing of women for various reasons, usually cultural". While the word "femicide" is relatively new in Honduras, volence and sexual abuse of women in the country has a long history, made worse by the fact that many of these crimes go unsolved or unpunished due to biases dominated by the culture of "machismo" that severely diminish the rights and status of women.

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