Central America: UNDP Report Assesses Gender-Based Violence in Region
Monday, November 23, 2009 11:25 AM

16 November 2009

The United Nations Development Programme’s  Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean recently released Opening Spaces for Citizen Security and Human Development, the 2009-2010 Central American Human Development Report (available in Spanish). The report’s conclusions were based on security assessments from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

According to the report, Central America has the highest levels of non-political violence in the world, and gender-motivated violence poses the most significant public security threat to the region. Crimes against children and crimes based on sexual orientation are also significant problems in the region. The report refers to gender-based crimes as “invisible insecurities” because they often occur in the home, and because cultural attitudes prevent the acts from being reported or investigated.

Local women’s rights groups blame the region’s culture of impunity on the lack of awareness-raising efforts encouraging reporting, and on the victim-blaming techniques used by male-dominated criminal justice systems. (IPS News).

The report recommends that Central American countries create a strategy to raise awareness of domestic violence issues and toughen criminal punishments for gender-based acts of violence.

Compiled from: José Adán Silva, “Central America: Gender-based Violence, the Hidden Face of Insecurity,” Inter Press Service (16 November 2009).