Since the 2009 military coup that ousted President Manuel Zeyala from the Honduran government, gang-related crimes, scarce living conditions and attacks against indigenous peoples, journalists and human rights defenders have remained rampant throughout the country. According to the 2012 “Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights,” there is a direct, causal link between the enjoyment of human rights — such right to work, to an adequate standard of living, adequate housing and to education — and the eradication of poverty. With these principles in mind, here are the top 10 facts about human rights in Honduras.
Top 10 Facts About Human Rights in Honduras
- Honduras is a country that has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Attacks against women, journalists, indigenous peoples, activists and human rights defenders are incredibly prevalent; additionally, there is a serious lack of accountability for police and public safety officials. Throughout the country, police fail to investigate 80 percent of homicide cases and of those that were looked into, 96 percent did not result in the prosecution or conviction of a perpetrator.
- Honduras has the highest femicide rate in the world and a woman is murdered every sixteen hours, according to the Honduras Center for Human Rights. Although there are laws in place to protect women from rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, discrimination and other forms of violence, abuse is under-reported and rarely investigated.
- When authorities do convict perpetrators, they often suffer from scarce living conditions within prison and detention centers. Designed for a total capacity of 10,600 people, the twenty-seven prison and detention center system held 18,950 prisoners as of 2017 — a 10 percent increase in the prisoner population since 2016. As a result, inmates face several scarce conditions such as insufficient access to food and water due to overcrowding. Equally, violence imparts of inmates and prison officials adds to the scarcity of prison life.
- Although there is no conclusive data on how much of Honduras’ violence is gang-related, the Association for a More Just Society estimated that there are between 12,000 and 40,000 active gang members in Honduras, where gang-related crime is concomitant with murder, robbery and drug trafficking.
- In addition to high crime and murder rates, Honduras also has one of the leading poverty rates in the world with more than 66 percent living in extreme poverty. In fact, one out of five Hondurans lives on less than $2 per day in many rural areas.
- To help amend and eradicate such abuses as those listed above, the U.S. and other countries increased the amount of aid directed to Honduras. For example, 4 percent of $25.83 million of U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) went to “Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance,” in Honduras in 2011; while in 2018, 50 percent of the $90.24 million budget went to the same category – an increase of nearly $42 million in aid from the U.S. in a span of just seven years.
- Among many socio-economic plans set to improve human rights conditions in the country is the “Honduras 2020” plan. The Investment Entrepreneurship Facilitation and Transformation Unit implemented this comprehensive plan that aims to reconstruct the economy by focusing specifically on tourism, textile and apparel, light manufacturing, outsourcing services, housing and agribusiness. In fact, it aims to create 600,000 more jobs by 2020.
- In addition to the Honduras 2020 plan, programs such as the “Project for Education Quality, Good Governance and Institutional Strengthening,” the “Nutritional and Social Protection Project” and the “Project to Modernize the Water and Sanitation Sector” are all working to secure equal and safe access to education, safe water and food security among other necessities.
- In 2005, the U.S. committed $20 million to the “Nutritional and Social Protection Project in Honduras,” a plan that succeeded in reducing malnutrition of children under 2 years of age in the program from 32 to 26 percent. In 2007, it gave an additional $30 million to aid the “Project to Modernize the Water and Sanitation Sector,” which helped 650,000 people gain access to clean water by providing Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) services and training almost 17,000 people in hygiene and sanitation practices.
- Implemented in 2008, the “Project for Education Quality, Good Governance and Institutional Strengthening” saw an increase in preschool enrollment as well as an increase in 6th grade completion by 2013.
From Poverty to Recovery
While relief efforts are in the works, these top 10 facts about human rights in Honduras show that many Hondurans are still facing extreme poverty, high crime and murder rates, harsh living conditions and other issues that are tantamount to human rights abuses.
Honduran leaders have begun to recognize poverty as a leading factor in the recovery of their nation and continue to prioritize it on both economic and social scales. In the wake of all this progress and a year out from their 2020 goal, Honduras is making steady progress towards creating safe and stable living conditions to precede economic and social progress.
– Morgan Everman