HAVANA._ Central America is one of the regions with the highest rate of murdered women, generally attributed to a predominant patriarchal mindset, but also related to increased degrees of organized crime activity.

Even though the classification of such violent deaths vary, many concur that this social sector is one of the most vulnerable in the context of violence and inequality and have gone as far as to call it genocide.

According to Human Rights Commissioner Roberto Herrera, between 2002 and 2014, some 4,460 women were murdered in Honduras alone, 95 per cent of which remain unsolved cases.

About 531 (11,9 percent) cases of the total murders during that time were reported in 2014; a year that registered 1,250 sexual attacks, amounting to an average of 100 per month. Furthermore, around 14 cases of domestic violence were reported every day during that period.

Central America is one of the regions with the highest rate of murdered women, generally attributed to a predominant patriarchal mindset, but also related to increased degrees of organized crime activity.According to the National Autonomous University of Honduras’ “Violence Watch,” more than 90 women were killed in the country in the first quarter of this year.

In Guatemala, the National Civil Police (NCP) and the Guatemalan National Forensic Science Institute reported that a total of 6,376 women died violently in the country between January 2005 and February 2015.

The NCP clarified that these deaths were caused by fire arms, bladed weapons, beatings, explosives, strangulation, and lynching, adding that the years during which most women died violently were 2009 with 720 cases, 2010 (695), and 2008 (687).

Nevertheless, of these reported cases, only 606 of the accused were convicted, 134 were found not guilty, and a further 5,636 were never brought to trial, meaning that a mere 11.6 percent of all cases were tried and 88.4 percent remain unresolved.

The National Civil Police in El Salvador recorded the murder of 292 women in 2014, marking a notable rise from the 215 cases in 2013.

Representatives of that police force said that between January and March of this year, 58 women were murdered nationwide; a toll they attribute more to gang and organized crime related violence than to hate crimes or domestic violence.

The Costa Rican Judicial Investigation Agency reported that during the past year every 18 hours and 36 minutes a deliberate homicide was carried out and that 22 women were victims of jealousy or possessiveness related femicide and sexual assault by men.

Even though this number is lower than the 42 reported cases in 2011, the figure surpasses the 26 cases in 2012 and the 18 in 2013.

The Costa Rican agency classifies “femicide” as crimes involving a husband or co-habitant and “feminicide” as those committed by an ex husband, ex boyfriend, former lover, family member, or any other person that is not directly related to the victim.

National Women’s Institute authorities consider that policies introduced in the country have produced results in terms of the reporting behavior, as there has been a rise from 411 in 2013 to 471 in 2014.

Violence against women is expressed every day, not only in terms of the thousands of deaths recorded every year, but also in terms of the physical, sexual, and psychological suffering and harm caused to them in both public and private spaces.

The failure to report, as well as official inaction, have a great impact on official data and statistic collection systems that could allow for a more precise indication of the magnitude of the problem and the possible implementation of adequate responses.

In almost all of Latin America, official figures -- when such exist -- are below those reported by civil groups due a failure to understand the differences between common deaths and femicides, combined with the governments’ interest to understate the problem.

 

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