Photo: Central America
The levels of lethal violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are greater than in some countries suffering armed conflict, a report released in Geneva Wednesday concludes.
The study is the work of the Assessment Capacities Project, or ACAPS, created by three NGOs: HelpAge International, Merlin and the Norwegian Refugee Council.
The report, entitled “Other Situations of Violence in the Northern Triangle of Central America,” discusses in depth the carnage perpetrated in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador by gangs, organized crime and drug traffickers.
“At 90.4 homicides per 100,000 people, Honduras remains the most violent country in the world. El Salvador (41.2) and Guatemala (39.9) have higher homicide rates now than during their civil wars,” ACAPS points out.
“The homicidal violence in the Northern Triangle results in considerably more civilian casualties than in any other countries, including those with ongoing armed conflicts or war, such as Democratic Republic of the Congo (28.3 in 2012) and Afghanistan (6.5 in 2012). In 2012 the global average homicide rate was 6.2 per 100,000 people,” the report says.
The report’s authors note that 30 percent of the homicides in the Americas are linked to criminal groups of one sort or another, compared to 1 percent in Asia.
Two out of every three murders in the Northern Triangle region were committed with firearms, something that is a sign of the great available of weapons there.
To that may be added the fact that the security forces are poorly prepared, badly paid and, in many cases, riven with corruption, according to the study.