Last Updated: Wednesday, 09 July 2014, 13:04 GMT

Honduras: Update to HND32564.E of 15 October 1999 on violence against women, including social, government and police attitudes; whether state protection and redress available to victims of sexual violence is effective and sufficient; the general attitudes of such victims regarding the responsiveness of the state and the corresponding reporting rates; women's organizations that assist victims of sexual violence

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 18 October 2002
Citation / Document Symbol HND40207.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Honduras: Update to HND32564.E of 15 October 1999 on violence against women, including social, government and police attitudes; whether state protection and redress available to victims of sexual violence is effective and sufficient; the general attitudes of such victims regarding the responsiveness of the state and the corresponding reporting rates; women's organizations that assist victims of sexual violence, 18 October 2002, HND40207.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3f7d4da111.html [accessed 10 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Country Reports 2001 states the following on violence against women in Honduras, including remedies for victims, penalties for aggressors and reporting rates:

Violence against women remained widespread. The Penal Code classifies domestic violence and sexual harassment as crimes, with penalties of 2 to 4 years' and 1 to 3 years' imprisonment, respectively. In February 2000, the Pan-American Health Organization reported that 60 percent of women have been victims of domestic violence. In September 2000, the U.N. Population Fund estimated that 8 of every 10 women suffer from domestic violence.

The Public Ministry reported that in Tegucigalpa, which has a population of 297,000 women, 12 women were killed as a result of domestic     violence during the year. Over the year, the Public Ministry reported that it receives an average of 341 allegations of domestic violence each month only in the capital city of Tegucigalpa.

The 1997 Law Against Domestic Violence strengthened the rights of women and increased the penalties for crimes of domestic violence. This law allows the Government to protect battered women through emergency measures, such as detaining an aggressor or separating him temporarily from the victim's home. It also imposes such penalties as a fine of $322 (5,000 lempiras) and 4 years' imprisonment per incident. During the year, many cases were resolved because the Government began to fund special courts to hear only cases of domestic violence.

The Government works with women's groups to provide specialized training to police officials on enforcing the Law Against Domestic Violence. There are few shelters specifically for battered women. The Government operates 1 shelter that can accommodate 10 women and their families. Six private centers for battered women offer legal, medical, and psychological assistance, but not physical shelter.

The penalties for rape are relatively light, ranging from 3 to 9 years' imprisonment. All rapes are considered public crimes, so a rapist can be prosecuted even if he marries his victim (2002, section 5).

In the Latin America and Caribbean Committee for the Defence of Women's Rights (CLADEM) report presented to the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women in July 2002, many obstacles impeding a woman's ability to obtain recourse are noted. Specifically, the report mentions that police officers do not apply the protection measures provided within the legislation on violence against women and that they do not channel domestic violence cases within 24 hours to the proper authorities (peace and family courts in the cities or departmental or sector courts elsewhere), but rather transfer them to the criminal courts, where they remain unprocessed (CLADEM July 2002, 85). Other obstacles include a shortage of judges and information in the court system, with judges not issuing protection measures until 30 or more days after the complaints of violence have been made (ibid.). Victims of sexual violence have lost faith in the justice system because of the lack of protection measures being provided for them (ibid.). Legal proceedings for treating sexual violence cases are supposed to take no more than 90 days, but in practice they last between 14 and 22 months (ibid., 86). Furthermore, due to "cultural, economic and political reasons," these cases rarely result in a guilty verdict against the accused (ibid.).

In its concluding observations on the situation in Honduras in May 2001, the United Nations Committee on Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights stated that it was worried about how widespread the phenomenon of domestic violence was in Honduras and the "apparent inability" of the government to effectively enforce legislation on the matter because of the lack of proper training for law enforcement personnel (UN 11 May 2002).

With regards to women's organizations assisting victims of domestic violence, the CLADEM report lists the Special Women's District Attorney Offices, the Family Advising Offices and the Women's National Institute (CLADEM July 2002, 87). The Special Women's District Attorney Offices have jurisdiction to issue protection measures and prosecute the aggressor (ibid.). In locations where these special offices do not exist, domestic or sexual violence cases are processed by regular District Attorney Offices (ibid.).

Isis Internacional, an international NGO providing information services to encourage the full development of women in society, lists the following Honduran organizations specializing in the rights of women and violence against women:

Institución Asociación Andar (activities include training, organization and income generation projects), Apdo. Postal 2818, Tegucigalpa, Tel: (504) 322-264, Fax: (504) 322-264, E-mail: narda@andar.sdnhon.org.hn

Centro de Derechos de Mujeres, CDM (activities include training, education, public policy, direct assistance, information services, national networking, work with community groups, and campaigns), Colonia Lara Norte, Calle Principal Casa 834, Tegucigalpa, Tel: (504) 221-0657, Fax: (504) 221-0459, E-mail: cdm@cdm.sdnhon.org.hn ; cdm@sdnhon.org.hn

Centro de Estudios de la Mujer, Honduras, CEM-H (activities include training, education, information services, psychological and socio-legal assistance, alternative health assistance, organizational support and political participation, and cultural activities), Apdo. Postal 3543, Tegucigalpa, Tel: (504) 232-6301, Fax: (504) 232-6301, E-mail: cemh@hondunata.com ; cemh2000@sdnhon.org.hn

Colectiva de Mujeres Hondureñas, CODEMUH (activities include education, training and publications), Apdo. Postal 696, San Pedro de Sula, Tel: (504) 669-1180, E-mail: codemuh@globalnet.hn

Information on the Family Advising Offices and the Women's National Institute, as well as additional information on national legislation, application of the laws, public policies and services in Honduras can be found in the attached document taken from the CLADEM report. Please note that the information contained in the document is based primarily on CLADEM's regional diagnosis published in 2000 in the book Cuestion de Vida - (A Matter of Life) Regional Summary and Challenges on Women's Rights to a Violence-free Life.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2001. United States Department of State. Washington, DC. [Accessed 17 Oct. 2002]

Isis Internacional. "Directorio de Organizaciones e Instituciones." [Accessed 17 Oct. 2002]

Latin America and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women's Rights (CLADEM), July 2002. Report for the United Nations' Special Reporter on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences, Dr. Rhadika Coomaraswamy, in the Context of the Preparation of her Final Report to be Presented in the 59th Session Before the Human Rights Commission.     [Accessed 25 Sept. 2002]

United Nations. 11 May 2001. (Press Release HR/4529). "Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Concludes Twenty-Fifth Session..." [Accessed 18 Oct. 2002]

Attachment

Latin America and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women's Rights (CLADEM), July 2002. Report for the United Nations' Special Reporter on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences, Dr. Rhadika Coomaraswamy, in the Context of the Preparation of her Final Report to be Presented in the 59th Session Before the Human Rights Commission.     [Accessed 25 Sept. 2002], pp. 82-87.

Additional Sources Consulted

Central America Report [Guatemala City]. 2000-2002

IRB Databases

Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 2000-2002

LEXIS/NEXIS

World News Connection (WNC)

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Boletín de la Red Feminista Latinoamericana y del Caribe contra la Violencia Doméstica y Sexual [Santiago]. 2000-2002

Human Rights Watch

International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)

Mujeres en Red

Social Watch

United Nations

Search engines:

Alltheweb.com

Google

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

Search Refworld

Countries