Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

UN: Murders soar in Central America

Honduras and El Salvador have the highest homicide rates in the world, a United Nations report has said

Honduras and El Salvador have the highest homicide rates in the world as killings reach a crisis point in Central America, a United Nations report has said.

The study on homicides by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime blamed organised crime for the region's surge in violence.

Honduras had 6,200 killings in 2010 out of a population of 7.7 million people, while El Salvador with 6.1 million people had 4,000 homicides.

The 2011 Global Study on Homicide calculated a rate of 82.1 homicides per 100,000 people for Honduras and 66 per 100,000 people for El Salvador.

Cote D'Ivoire in West Africa followed with 56.9 and the Caribbean nation of Jamaica with 52.1.

Honduras Human Rights Commissioner Ramon Custodio said he was worried about rising crime and feared worse figures are yet to come.

"We, Hondurans, have lost the right to live without fear," Mr Custodio said.

He said the enemy in the 1980s was the army, police and secret corps, but now the threat is organised crime.

US officials say crackdowns on drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia have pushed gang activity to Central America, which has long been a lucrative corridor for trafficking.

Caribbean countries, most notably Jamaica, have also been affected by drug-related violence, the report said.