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HandWiki. Femicides in Honduras. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 19 April 2024).
HandWiki. Femicides in Honduras. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 19, 2024.
HandWiki. "Femicides in Honduras" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 19, 2024).
HandWiki. (2022, November 18). Femicides in Honduras. In Encyclopedia.
HandWiki. "Femicides in Honduras." Encyclopedia. Web. 18 November, 2022.
Femicides in Honduras

The femicides in Honduras is a concept which designates the murders committed against women within the Central American country of Honduras since 1990. According to the Penal Code in force until 2018, the crime of feminicide 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 in Honduras. The number of femicides makes up 9.6% of the total number of homicides in the country. In 2013, 53 women were killed every month and, as it occurs in the rest of murders, more than 90% of the cases have gone unpunished by the law. In many of these femicides, the women are also burned, raped, and tortured beforehand. Between 2010 and 2013 the number of femicides in Honduras increased by 65%. 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 of victims of femicide. In 2015, the Honduran government allocated 30 million Honduran lempiras to the creation of a special unit in the 2016 budget for femicide investigation.

felonies femicide femicides

1. Femicides in 2017

Between January and December 2017, there were 388 reported femicides. Of these victims, 30.1% (117) were between 15 and 24 years old, meaning these were women that were in the process of building their identity, educational training, and reproductive age. The data shows that the most vulnerable age group was between the ages of 20 and 24 years old, accounting for 17.2% (67) of the total femicides. The age groups with the lowest percentage of victims were girls under 15 years (8.2%) and women aged 60 and over (5.4%).[1]

2. Femicides

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

2.1. Rape and Murder of Riccy Mabel Martínez

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. The same day that Riccy disappeared, she was raped and killed by a group of 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 to the crime was Esteban García, an ice cream vendor, who confirmed having seen the young woman inside a car identical to one belonging the colonel, but a few days prior to making his statement and testifying in court, he was beaten to death by a gang in an apparent robbery.[2]

2.2. Murder of Environmentalist Blanca Jeanette Kawas

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.[3]

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 Sergeant Ismael Perdomo and Mario Pineda (known as Chapin) in the police headquarters of Tela.[4]

2.3. Murder of Miss World Honduras 2014

In November 2014, young 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 last between 60 and 80 years.[5][6][7] He was sentenced on November 12, 2015.[8]

2.4. Berta Cáceres

Berta Cáceres, a Lenca environmental activist and indigenous leader, was murdered on March 2, 2016. After enduring years of threats against her life, she was killed in her home by unidentified intruders using a firearm.[9] Cáceres' death was widely condemned, with calls for an investigation coming from the Organization of American States (OAS),[10] the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras,[11] and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.[12] Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández declared the investigation of the murder a priority,[13] 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.[10] 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.[14][15][16][17][18]

3. Contract Killing in Honduras

One of the most common methods of murdering women in Honduras is contract killing, where hired assassins shoot the target either inside or outside of their residence and then escape the crime scene.

4. National Civil Code Reforms

In February 2013, the National Congress of Honduras approved a reform in the national civil code which classified femicide as a serious felony, sanctioning punishments with a sentence of up to 40 years in prison.[19]

Committing the crime of Femicide, he or they who commit the act of murdering a woman for reasons of gender, with hate and disdain for her position as a woman will be punished with thirty (30) to forty (40) years of confinement when one or more of the various circumstances following occur:

  1. When the perpetrator of the crime maintains or has maintained a partner relationship, either matrimonial, domestic partnership, cohabitation or any other relation in between, including those in which an emotional relationship is or has been sustained;
  2. When the crime is preceded with acts of domestic violence existing or not on record;
  3. When the crime is preceded with sexual violence, assault, harassment, or persecution of any nature;
  4. When the crime is committed with unjustifiable malice or cruelty, or if the wounds inflicted are shameful, degrading, or mutilating before or after the taking of life.

In 2017, during the discussion of the new Civil Codes, there was a discussion held in the National Congress, which incorporated the new classification of the crime of femicide as a crime of abuse against women, but, reduced the punishment to 20 to 30 years in prison.[20]

5. Causes

Causes for the high level of femicides in Honduras are varied, although one of the principal causes may be the lack of legal repercussions. Ninety percent of murders go un-investigated.


  1. "Muerte Violenta de Mujeres y Femicidios". 
  2. Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Refworld - Honduras: Death of Riccy Mabel, July 1993". 
  3. Controlador. "Mártires de la lucha ambiental". Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. 
  4. "Honduras ante la corte interamericana por el asesinato de ambientalista - Honduras Laboral". 16 April 2015. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015. 
  5. "Archived copy".,-en-audiencia-inicial. 
  6. "Asesinato de reina; shock para violenta Honduras". 
  7. "Dictan prisión para Plutarco Ruiz por el asesinato de Miss Honduras Mundo y su hermana". 
  8. "Reanudan caso de Plutarco Ruiz, supuesto asesino de Miss Honduras Mundo". 
  9. "Threats, attacks and intimidation against Berta Cáceres Flores". 
  10. "Secretario de la OEA condena asesinato de Berta Cáceres". La Tribuna. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-04. 
  11. "Berta Cáceres, Human Rights, Environmental Activist Killed In Honduras". 
  12. "La ONU condena el asesinato de la líder indígena hondureña Berta Cáceres". HispanTV. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-04. 
  13. "Gobierno de Honduras condena el vil asesinato de Berta Cáceres". El Heraldo. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-04. 
  14. Harriet Alexander (4 March 2016). "Honduran environmentalist Berta Caceres murdered in her home". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-03-04. 
  15. "Calle 13:'El asesinato de Berta Cáceres multiplicará la lucha'". La Prensa. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-04. 
  16. "Alcaldesa de Barcelona: 'Asesinos de Berta no callarán su vuz ni su lucha'". NotiBomba. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 
  17. "Venezuela:Nicolás Maduro reacciona por muerte de hondureña Berta Cáceres". El Heraldo. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-04. 
  18. "On The Assassination Of Berta Caceres In Honduras". 
  19. "Cerca de 4.000 mujeres fueron asesinadas en Honduras entre 2002 y 2013". 
  20. Mujeres, Centro de Derechos de. "¿Cuál será el impacto del nuevo Código Penal en los derechos de las mujeres en Honduras? | Centro de Derechos de Mujeres" (in es-ES).,%20 
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