US embassy cable - 03TEGUCIGALPA527

PRESIDENT MADURO VOWS TO COMBAT RISING MINOR HOMICIDE RATE

Identifier: 03TEGUCIGALPA527
Wikileaks: View 03TEGUCIGALPA527 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Tegucigalpa
Created: 2003-02-26 15:40:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PHUM PGOV KCRM ASEC SNAR KJUS PREL HO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L TEGUCIGALPA 000527 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR WHA/CEN, WHA/PPC, DRL/PHD, INL/LP 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/23/2013 
TAGS: PHUM, PGOV, KCRM, ASEC, SNAR, KJUS, PREL, HO 
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT MADURO VOWS TO COMBAT RISING MINOR 
HOMICIDE RATE 
 
REF: 02 TEGUCIGALPA 2956 
 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Roger D. Pierce for reasons 
1.5(b) and (d). 
 
1. (U) On February 19, before a hastily convened 
international audience which included the ambassadors of 
Great Britain, Taiwan, Germany, France, Spain, as well as 
PolOff, President Ricardo Maduro vowed to combat Honduras' 
surging homicide rate for minors.  Maduro expressed his 
administration's deep concern about the issue, calling the 
murder of children the "ultimate human rights violation," and 
asserted that those perpetuating these crimes will be brought 
to justice.  At the same time, however, Maduro acknowledged 
the lack of law enforcement resources as a serious 
impediment, specifically mentioning that every homicide 
investigator is responsible for over 200 cases. The President 
was accompanied by Defense Minister Frederico Breve and the 
Minister of Public Security Oscar Alvarez. 
 
2. (U) Following Maduro's remarks Public Security Minister 
Alvarez presented government statistics compiled by his 
office outlining the scope of the problem.  Between 1998 and 
2002, the GOH's figures count 744 minors murdered in 
Honduras, primarily in the major urban centers of Tegucigalpa 
and San Pedro Sula.  This figure is substantially higher than 
the 574 cited by the Minister of Government and Justice in an 
October 2002 report (reftel).  Casa Alianza (a child advocacy 
NGO) has estimated that there were 1,500 extrajudicial 
killings of youth under age 23 (including minors) between 
January 1998 and December 2002.  Alarmingly, during 2002 
homicides of minors accounted for 42 percent of all cases. 
Alvarez believes increased gang activity is to blame for the 
killings.  This has become a particular concern since the 
U.S. government has stepped up deportations of Honduran 
nationals, many of whom were hardened gang members while in 
the United States. 
 
3. (SBU) During his remarks, Alvarez failed to address 
accusations of extrajudicial killings by GOH security forces. 
 Alvarez only restated often-repeated GOH policy that 
Honduras would not tolerate, condone, or  excuse the murder 
of children.  In a government handout titled "Special Report 
on Child Homicide," (distributed after the event) the issue 
was broached, but then only to discount the possibility that 
security forces have played any major role in child homicide. 
 
 
3. (C) COMMENT: The homicide closure rate in Honduras is 
between 1-2 percent compared to a national U.S. closure rate 
of close to 70 percent. While the GOH has adequately 
identified the murder of minors as a serious issue, its 
inability to dedicate more resources and technical ability to 
address the problem underscores the GOH's lack of 
follow-through on commitments made to the international 
community last fall (reftel).  The failure to recognize the 
role of security forces in these killings and/or to report on 
the status of the over 20 cases where police are accused of 
involvement, signals that the GOH is not seriously addressing 
the possibility that its own security forces may be 
implicated and if so, to what degree. END COMMENT 
 
Palmer 

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