Honduras suffers from rampant crime and impunity for human rights abuses. The murder rate was again the highest in the world in 2014. The institutions responsible for providing public security continue to prove largely ineffective and remain marred by corruption and abuse, while efforts to reform them have made little progress.
Journalists and peasant activists are particularly vulnerable to violence, yet the government routinely fails to prosecute those responsible and provide protection for those at risk.
After it arbitrarily dismissed four Supreme Court judges in December 2012, Congress passed legislation empowering itself to remove justices and the attorney general, further undermining judicial and prosecutorial independence.
The unlawful use of force by police is a chronic problem. According to a report by the Observatory on Violence at the National Autonomous University of Honduras, police killed 149 people between 2011 and 2012. Then-Commissioner of the Preventative Police Alex Villanueva affirmed the report's findings and said there were likely many more killings by police that were never reported. The government did not respond to calls by the National Autonomous University rector asking it to provide information on how many of those killings had been subject to investigations or resulted in criminal convictions.
Efforts to address endemic corruption within the police force have made little progress. While tests designed to identify corruption have been administered to more than 4,500 police officers, only a fraction of those who have failed the test have been removed from their posts. According to the Public Security Reform Commission, the institution formerly responsible for designing reforms to justice and public security organs, just 3 percent of the 230 officers recommended for dismissal in 2012 were ultimately removed from their posts.
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