Femicides in Honduras

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The femicides in Honduras is a concept which designates the murders comitted against women within the Honduras territory in Central America, since 1990. According to the Penal Code in force until 2018, the crime of femicide is incurred, when a man or men kill a woman for reasons of gender, with hatred and contempt for her condition as a woman. Between 2002 and 2013 3,923 women were murdered.[1][2] The number of femicides makes up 9.6% of the total number of homicides in the country.[3] In 2013, 53 women were killed every month and, as it occurs in the rest of murders, more than 90% of the cases were left in impunity. Before being killed, the women are commonly also burned, raped, and tortured. Between 2010 and 2013 the number of murders increased in 65%.[4][5]

The local national authorities have been accused of inaction by the population, given that in many cases it has not been cleared the responsibility of said felonies. There are a few government and non-government organizations that provide support to the mothers and relatives victims of femicide. In 2015, the Honduran government committed with 30 million Honduran lempiras for the creation of a special unit in the 2016 budget for femicide investigation.

Femicides in 2017[edit]

The violent deaths of women and femicides registered between January and December of 2017, added up a total of 389 cases. To disaggregate the data according to the age of the victims, 30.1% (117) was between 15 and 24 years old, women that are in the process of building their identity, educational training, and reproductive age. The records show that the greatest vulnerability occurred in the range of 20 to 24 years, accumulating 17.2% (67) of the total, while the age groups that showed the lowest number of victims were girls under 15 years of age with 32 cases and women aged 60 and over, with 21 victims.[6]


As in most homicides comitted in Honduras, femicides continue to occur due to lack of investigation and judicial process.

Rape and murder of Riccy Mabel Martínez[edit]

Riccy Mabel Martínez Sevilla, born in The Ceiba Caribbean region of Honduras, was a third-year student of education at the Escuela Normal Mixta Pedro Nufio in Tegucigalpa.

Her boyfriend, Rubén Hurtado Padilla, had been recruited to serve the mandatory military service, so Riccy Mabel decided to visit the Battalion of Communications in the outskirts of Tegucigalpa to request her boyfriend's release. That same day, Riccy disappeared, she was raped and killed by at least four men, according to the FBI forensic exams.

Her body was found on July 15, 1991 by a stream, one of the main suspects in the rape and killing was Colonel Ángel Castillo Maradiaga.

A key witness of the crime was Esteban García, an ice cream vendor, who affirmed having seen the teenager on board a car identical to that of the colonel, but a few days earlier of his statement he was beaten to death by a gang in an apparent robbery.[7]

Murder of environmentalist Blanca Jeanette Kawas[edit]

Blanca Jeanette Kawas was a Honduran environmental activist known for her role in the preservation of more than 400 species of flora and fauna. She carried out acts against the Carlos Roberto Reina Idiáquez government due to the granting of property titles to farmers and business men in the Punta Sal reserves, today known as the Jeanette Kawas National Park.[8]

Two days after the protest, on February 6, 1995, at 7:45 pm, Jeanette Kawas was shot dead with a firearm by two unidentified suspects in her house in Barrio El Centro, in Tela, Atlántida. Among the murder suspects are Colonel Mario Amaya (known as Tigre Amaya), who would have met with Sargeant Ismael Perdomo and Mario Pineda (known as Chapin) in the police headquarters of Tela.[9]

Murder of Miss World Honduras 2014[edit]

In November 2014, adolescent María José Alvarado and her sister Sofía Trinidad were murdered at a party while celebrating the birthday of Sofía's ex-boyfriend. Her boyfriend Plutarco Ruíz was identified by witnesses as the murderer, and he eventually confessed to the crime. Having been declared guilty, his sentence was predicted to be between 60 and 80 years.[10][11][12] He was sentenced on November 12, 2015.[13]

Berta Cáceres[edit]

Berta Cáceres, a Lenca environmental activist and indigenous leader, was murdered on March 2, 2016. She was killed in her home by unidentifed intruders with a fireaarm after years of threats against her life.[14] Cáceres' death was widely condemned, with calls for an investigation coming from the Organization of American States (OAS),[15] the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras,[16] and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.[17] Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández declared the investigation of the murder a priority,[18] and Luis Almagro, the Secretary General of the OAS, reiterated the OAS's previous call for special protection of indigenous human rights defenders in Honduras.[15] Other expressions of support came from American actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio, Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein, Amnesty International, former Colombian senator Piedad Córdoba, Oxfam, the Mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, and Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro.[19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

Contract Killing in Honduras[edit]

One of the most common methods of murdering women in Honduras is contract killing, shooting the women either inside or outside of their residence and then escaping.

National Civil Code Reforms[edit]

In February 2013 the National Congress of Honduras approved a reform in the national civil code which classified femicide as a serious felony, sanctioning with a sentence of up to 40 years in prison.[1]


Causes for the high level of femicides in Honduras are varied, although one of the principal causes is impunity, because 90% of murders are not investigated, so the killers continue to commit more femicides.

Unit for the Investigation of Femicides[edit]

In 2015, the government of Honduras attributed 30 million Honduran lempiras to the creation of a special unit in the 2016 budget for the investigation of femicides.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Cerca de 4.000 mujeres fueron asesinadas en Honduras entre 2002 y 2013".
  2. ^ "Más de 3,600 mujeres fueron asesinadas en Honduras entre 2002 y junio de 2013 - América Latina - ElNuevoHerald.com". 10 September 2014. Archived from the original on September 10, 2014.
  3. ^ Gibbons, Jonathan (2013). "Global Study on Homicide" (PDF). www.unodc.org. United National Office of Drugs and Crime (Vienna).
  4. ^ "Los asesinatos de mujeres aumentan un 65 por ciento en Honduras".
  5. ^ "Una interminable "epidemia" muerte de mujeres en Honduras".
  6. ^ "Muerte Violenta de Mujeres y Femicidios". Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras.
  7. ^ Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Refworld - Honduras: Death of Riccy Mabel, July 1993".
  8. ^ Controlador. "Mártires de la lucha ambiental". Archived from the original on 2013-09-21.
  9. ^ "Honduras ante la corte interamericana por el asesinato de ambientalista - Honduras Laboral". 16 April 2015. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015.
  10. ^ http://www.tiempo.hn/naci%C3%B3n/item/9495-testigos-identifican-a-plutarco-como-el-asesino-de-miss-honduras-y-su-hermana,-en-audiencia-inicial
  11. ^ "Asesinato de reina; shock para violenta Honduras".
  12. ^ "Dictan prisión para Plutarco Ruiz por el asesinato de Miss Honduras Mundo y su hermana".
  13. ^ "Reanudan caso de Plutarco Ruiz, supuesto asesino de Miss Honduras Mundo".
  14. ^ "Threats, attacks and intimidation against Berta Cáceres Flores". BertaCaceres.org.
  15. ^ a b "Secretario de la OEA condena asesinato de Berta Cáceres". La Tribuna. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  16. ^ "Berta Cáceres, Human Rights, Environmental Activist Killed In Honduras". Latin Times. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  17. ^ "La ONU condena el asesinato de la líder indígena hondureña Berta Cáceres". HispanTV. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  18. ^ "Gobierno de Honduras condena el vil asesinato de Berta Cáceres". El Heraldo. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  19. ^ Cite error: The named reference :1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  20. ^ Cite error: The named reference :2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  21. ^ Harriet Alexander (4 March 2016). "Honduran environmentalist Berta Caceres murdered in her home". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  22. ^ "Calle 13:"El asesinato de Berta Cáceres multiplicará la lucha"". La Prensa. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  23. ^ "Piedad Córdoba condena asesinato de líder social Berta Cáceres". TeleSur. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  24. ^ "Alcaldesa de Barcelona: "Asesinos de Berta no callarán su vuz ni su lucha"". NotiBomba. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  25. ^ "Venezuela:Nicolás Maduro reacciona por muerte de hondureña Berta Cáceres". El Heraldo. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  26. ^ Cite error: The named reference :5 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  27. ^ "On The Assassination Of Berta Caceres In Honduras". www.leahy.senate.gov. Retrieved 2016-03-04.