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  • Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) speaks during an interview at United Nations General Assembly in New York City, U.S. Sept. 24, 2018

    Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) speaks during an interview at United Nations General Assembly in New York City, U.S. Sept. 24, 2018 | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 February 2019

At a ceremony to launch the joint U.N.-EU global 'Spotlight Initiave' in Honduras to end femicides, daughter of slain activist Berta Caceres calls president a 'murderer'. 

The United Nations (U.N.) and the European Union (EU) formally announced that they are launching the ‘Spotlight Initiative’ in Honduras in an international effort to end femicides and impunity regarding the killing of women.

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At a ceremony in Tegucigalpa Wednesday, President Juan Orlando Hernandez (JOH) thanked the U.N. and EU for bringing the initiative to the country and for their support in trying to combat violence and femicides against women in Honduras. During his speech JOH said that violence against women is resolved by working "with children, girls and young people changing the culture." He then added that femicides "are not just a women's issue, but a matter for us men too and we have to commit to bringing results" to the issue.

The global ‘Spotlight Initiative’ was launched in 2018 in a joint effort by the U.N. and EU to “eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.” In Latin America, the initiative is aimed specifically at ending femicides that have risen to epidemic proportions over the past decade in particular.

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By 2014, Honduras had the highest number of femicides in the world, according to the U.N. As many as 380 women were murdered in the country in 2018 and 30 women were killed during the first 30 days of 2019. The impunity rate for the crime hovers at 95 percent.

The U.N. representative to Honduras Igor Garafulic, said in his speech that between 35 and 70 percent of women’s deaths in the region are at the hands of their partner or a family member. "We can not be indifferent" to these statistics, the rep added.

Honduras is the second Latin American country to launch the global initiative after Mexico and will receive about 500 million euros (US$564.2 million dollars) for the effort to end femicides.


Olivia Zuñiga, opposition legislator and daughter to the slain Honduran land rights activist Berta Caceres who was murdered in 2016 by military members for trying to prevent the construction of a major dam in Lenca Indigenous territory, shouted "murderer" at the president during his ceremony speech.

"Get out JOH, justice for Berta!” and “murderer" Zuñiga shouted at the president.

After the event to which Zuñiga was an invited attendee she told the press: "I feel happy for having yelled ‘murderer’ and for having told off JOH. … How he can be in an initiative against femicides in this country when there has been no justice for Berta and the masterminds (of her killing) continue in total impunity?" inquired legislator Zuñiga.

"Honduras does not want to remain passive or resigned. We can honestly say that ... all ethnic groups are an indissoluble part of our country," stated the president at the end of his speech.


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