Honduran women demand access to the national budget debate

Photo: CEM-H.

As the discussion about the national budget of Honduras are starting, women and feminist organizations assembled in different platforms and local networks, have started to demand participation in the debate.

The situation of most Honduran women is precarious, they argue, having to face poverty and violence in their everyday life. Violence comes from their own family environment, from organized crime and from the repressive bodies of the State.

Before the beginning of discussions about the General Budget of the Republic of Honduras, women and feminist organizations assembled in different platforms and local networks, have started to agitate that it is a time to give Honduran women access to the resources of the national budget.

The situation of the Honduran women is every day more precarious, the conditions of poverty and misery make their life increasingly difficult, as well as the violence they have to face in an everyday life which is coming not only from their own family environment, from the organized crime, but also from the repressive bodies of the State.

  • According to the information of the Supreme Court of Justice, 42,030 denunciations of domestic violence were presented in the years 2012 -13, which makes an annual average of 21,015. In 2013 636 cases of femicides were registered by the Observatory of the Violence of the UNAH, only 140 of them were deposited to the courts. There is an evident increase of the femicides every year, which is also reflected in the higher rates of violence against women leading to death that increased from 2.7 in 2005, to 14.6 in 2013. Although femicides in Honduras were legally classified at the beginning of 2013, until April 2014 only one case was sentenced according to this classification. According to the Supreme Court of Justice the judicial delinquency of femicides is approximately 60 % and according to the women's organizations the degree of impunity in the country is 95 %.
  • The limitations for an effective access to the justice are the same as in the past. Most important ones are reductions of personnel certified in the methods of scientific investigation, lack of reagents, ballistics and laboratories, deficit of basic materials for an effective fight against the criminal scene, limited number of vehicles, deviation of evidence, lacks of protocols of investigation  in accordance with international standards, disproportionate relation between the number of agents and the number of cases to investigate, high rotation of personnel, judgments with missing focus on the gender issue and in accordance with traditional international conventions, excessive legal written formalism and lack of security guarantees for the protected witnesses.
  • Although the rates of the budget average assigned to security and defence institutions have increased  - during the period 2009 - 2013 the increase represented 10 % per year, this has not affected the decrease of the violence in Honduras, where women (of any age category) are the most affected ones, mainly due to their unequal relations to men. The violence against women increases every day as it is demonstrated by the figures published by different entities of justice.
  • While insecurity and criminality against women increase, the budgets of the different instances of justice and investigation charged with the issue of criminality against women, have not been increased significantly.  For illustration, the Office of the Special District Attorney for the Women has a budget that represents 2 % of the total budget of the Office of the Attorney General, while the rest of the district attorney's offices ranges between 6 and 7 per cent. Likewise, the financial resources of courts specialized in domestic violence issues represent only 0.98 per cent of the total budget of the Supreme Court of Justice compared to other courts that range between 3, 8 and 12 per cent. It is important to highlight that the domestic violence is the most common reason of accusations at the national level.
  • The resources destined for criminal investigation represent only 10.5 % of the budget of the security and defence institutions, making the criminal investigation one of the obstacles for reduction of the impunity in the country and detention of the femicides.
  • Similar situation can be seen regarding violence against rural, indigenous women and Garifunas in a specific way, being most endangered as they are facing a systematic abandonment from the state repressive forces, which causes that they are often forced to migrate inside or out of the country.
  • Distribution and usage of national resources have different implications and repercussions for men and women, the fiscal policies implemented by the government have different consequences for men and women as well. It is not possible to create laws and policies that would favour women like the National Woman Policy, Policy of Human rights, the Domestic Violence Law, the Legal act of the femicide in the Penal Code, if there are any resources assigned for their successful implementation.

Therefore women organisations in Honduras demand that the National Congress and the corresponding authorities of the Executive Power set into practice following:

  • Creation of a special section „About the Equality between Men and Women” in the General Budgetary Law 2015, which would allow to set gender issue as an obligatory part in the programs, projects and actions implemented by the public administration.
  • Assignment of resources for creation of three courts specialized in femicides in the cities with the highest incident rates, being San Pedro Sula, Politely and The Ceiba.
  • Assignment of resources for creation of three courts specialized in domestic violence in the cities Comayagua, Ceiba and Yoro.
  • Twenty per cent increase of the budget of the Office of Special District Attorney for Women.
  • Assignment of resources for creation of a special line of criminal investigation for crimes motivated by the violence against women.
  • To assign 1 % of resources allocated to security issues to stimulate campaigns of violence prevention against women and girls.
  • To assign 2 % of resources allocated to security issues for universal implementation of the guidelines for sexual education in the country, considering that the education is an important factor for deconstruction of sexism that is the main factor that supports the culture of violence against women and girls.
  • To assign at least 30 % of the developed projects and technological bonds implemented by the public administration for the women. To assign resources for the program CREDIMUJER recently presented at the National Congress by rural women.

„We are the granddaughters of all the witches who could not be destroyed and we are proud of their example.”

Signatory organizations:

Centre of Women Studies Honduras (CEM-H), Indo-American in Resistance for Life Dignity, Centre of Studies and Action for the Development of Honduras (CESADEH), Women’s´ Network against the Violence against Women of Intibucá, Women’s´ Network against the Violence against Women of La Paz, Foundation Seed, Women´ Network of the Cologne Ramon Amaya Amador and Women’s´ Network of the Cologne Red Cross.

Source: CEM-H.