Like its fellow countries in the north of Central America, El Salvador and Guatemala, Honduras suffers from high crime rates and severe poverty in the wake of civil wars in the 1980s. Street gangs roam unchecked in many urban neighbourhoods while drug traffickers ply the coasts and plague all levels of the state. A contested presidential election in 2017 spurred a wave of political violence, though all sides seem to have accepted the recent landslide victory of left-leaning Xiomara Castro. Chronic socio-economic ills, coupled with poor governance and rampant corruption, are the main drivers of northward migration, which has its own perils for those who venture the journey. Crisis Group studies the roots of the country’s persistent problems and pushes for policy solutions to break the cycle of forced departure and deportation.

CrisisWatch Honduras

Unchanged Situation

Institutional crisis over Attorney General’s appointment continued, and govt extended state of exception for seventh time.

Congress remained paralysed over selection of new Attorney General. Ruling Libre Party and opposition National Party continued to disagree on candidate for Attorney General, prolonging legislative paralysis. Opposition, who have blocked govt’s choice for new Attorney General in response to amnesty law they claim benefits Libre party, 12 Oct accused Castro administration of using justice system to harass opposition and manipulate selection process; accusation came after anti-corruption unit 11 Oct indicted former presidents Juan Orlando Hernández and Porfirio Lobo (both from National Party) on fraud charges. Crisis hindered progress on creation of UN-led anti-corruption commission.

Stringent security measures remained in place as authorities lauded impact. Govt 6 Oct announced extension of state of exception until 17 Nov, with authorities claiming period Jan-Oct saw 2,306 homicides, down from 2,761 in same period in 2022. Military police commander Ramiro Fernando Muñoz 11 Oct announced that after three months of special measures, prisons (where criminal groups often coordinate their activities) were “no longer a problem”; experts said strategy of splitting gangs into different prisons appeared effective. Concerns about criminality and violence continued, however. Notably, Human Rights Commission report 8 Oct decried high levels of violence and impunity against women and environmental activists, while UN rapporteur on freedom of expression 27 Oct warned that violence and judicial harassment against activists and journalists is “alarmingly high”.

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