Killing of children continues with impunity
in Honduras continue to get away with murder, with nearly 700 murdered
or extra-judicially executed in the last 18 months. The killings continue
with impunity, exactly two years since the creation of the Special Unit
for the Investigation of Violent Deaths of Children. In response, Amnesty
International relaunched its worldwide campaign calling on the Honduran
government to stop impunity.
Sauceda Flores' son, 16 year-old Darwin, was arrested and beaten by
a police officer in February 2002, held for two days and released. One
day later his body was found with signs that he had been summarily executed.
She has been intimidated and threatened after filing complaints against
the two officers she believes murdered her son. No one has been brought
to justice for his killing.
the creation of the Special Unit for the Investigation of Violent Deaths
of Children, it has only looked at 400 of over 2,300 cases of assassinations
of children and young people since January 1998. Only 88 cases were
forwarded to the Attorney General's Office, and only three have resulted
in a conviction. Although the government has admitted that police officers
have been involved in many of the killings, just two policemen have
so far been convicted.
made by the government have also failed to be honoured. Despite the
announcement last year of the establishment of a National Witness Protection
Plan for judicial proceedings, to date no adequate mechanism has been
established. Protection of witnesses is of paramount importance as they
can be intimidated to prevent them from providing testimony against
International UK Director Kate Allen said: "Thousands of children
in Honduras face a similar fate to Darwin. The Honduran authorities
must prevent and punish killings of children and young people in the
country, and protect witnesses. "It is critical that both the Special
Unit and the Attorney General's Office are given sufficient resources
and independence to do this. The government should appoint ad-hoc judges
to work specifically on these cases. The future of the country depends