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'We will not allow their deaths to go unpunished.' Join the day of action against femicide in Honduras

Posted by Jacky Repila Programme Learning Officer

17th Jun 2013

Image from the alternate court against femicide

A day of action is taking place in Honduras on Wednesday to show solidarity with the 3,000 mothers, daughters and sisters who have been violently killed in that country in the last decade. Jacky Repila explains more.

On Wednesday 19 June the National Campaign Against Femicide in Honduras, la Campaña Nacional Contra los Femicidios, is organising a mass action calling on the state to take action on femicide. Campaigners are asking people around the world to join in via Facebook to add their voices to the growing movement calling on the state of Honduras to take action on femicide.

'In memory of their lives, we will not allow their deaths to go unpunished'

April's G8 declaration on preventing sexual violence in conflict and a pledge of £23 million is welcome.  Peace building in Syria will be topping the agenda at the G8 this week, but Wednesday is a reminder that the right to live free from violence is universal,  no matter where you live and regardless of gender, faith or ethnicity.

'The most dangerous (peace time) country'

With the highest homicide rate in the world, the UN calls Honduras 'the most dangerous (peace time) country' on the planet. One woman is killed there every 15 hours and yet of the 22,000 cases reported in 2012, less than 2% of cases were investigated. 

Data analysis reveals an alarming trend. Between 2003 and 2007 whilst the number of men murdered in Honduras rose by 50% this increased to 160% for women, rising to 258% for the 2002-2012 period.

Wednesday's action by la Campaña Nacional Contra los Femicidios (or CNCF) centres around a mock tribunal to shine the spotlight on the glaring failings of the criminal justice system and the complicity - direct and indirect - of the police and the state.

Bringing together judges and human rights lawyers, real life stories of murder and institutional paralysis will be showcased and beamed around the world via live streaming, which you can follow here

The aim is to name and shame the government of Honduras for its derogation of responsibility to investigate and bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against women, and its non-compliance with national and international law. The government's actions - or rather inaction - will be shown to perpetuate gender based violence and discrimination.

A culture of machismo and impunity

The campaign is backed by hard hitting research and evidence in the report How the threads of impunity are sewn together and corroborated by the National Autonomous University of Honduras' (UNAH) Violence Observatory

The report unravels the complex strands that build the country's culture of impunity. Gun culture, organised crime and the so-called 'remilitarisation' of society following the 2009 coup d'état all contribute. High levels of mistrust of the police - shown to be implicated in extra judicial killings - and the collapse of the justice system are major barriers to access to justice. Documented cases of intimidation of victims' families and supporters, and allegations by authorities that victims, typically young women between the ages of 20 and 24, are partially responsible for the crimes committed against them,  are the tip of the iceberg that is a culture of 'machismo' and patriarchy.

The energy behind the campaign comes from the passion and collective voice of a national coalition of eight civil society organisations and includes Oxfam partners Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz and Asociación Nacional de Organismos No-Gubernamentales. The latter has been working to increase women's political leadership and participation in decision making as part of the Raising Her Voice (RHV) programme.  

Tackling the root causes of gender based violence

Tackling the root causes of gender based violence (GBV) - being vulnerable to attack for being a woman - is linked to RHV's work to fundamentally shift the unequal distribution of power between men and women. Coming from a good governance perspective, RHV's experience from five years' work in seventeen countries around the world, is that for women to take up their political rights, tackling GBV - femicide in its most extreme form - is non-negotiable. 

On 19 June, we are asking you to join the call to end impunity against violence - in war and peace - and show solidarity with the 3,000 mothers, daughters and sisters who have been violently killed in the last decade. You will hear their stories at www.contralosfemicidios.hn and make sure they are not forgotten.  

If you're using Internet Explorer and having trouble viewing the film, please go direct to YouTube to see it.

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Blog post written by Jacky Repila

Programme Learning Officer

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Jacky Repila