Honduras: Whether women who head a household may, without receiving assistance from a man, obtain a home and employment in Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Sula; the support services provided by the state to households run by women in these cities; violence against women in these cities [HND103833.FE]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

Employment

According to an article published by La Tribuna, a daily based in Tegucigalpa, in Honduras, there is an [translation] “erroneous macho idea” that men [translation] “should be the superiors at work” and that the [translation] “domestic duties are the responsibility of ‘good’ women” (25 Jan.2011).

According to the data of the National Institute of Statistics (Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas, INE) in that same January 2011 article, there are over 3,000,000 women of working age in Honduras, but only 1,221,543 of them are active economically (La Tribuna 25 Jan.2011). A total of 550,767 women head a household in Honduras, which represents approximately 32 percent of all households (ibid.). According to an article published on 9 March 2009 by El Heraldo, it was 25 percent in 2008. In addition, this article states that, at that time, the salary for men was twice that of women (El Heraldo 9 March 2009). However, an article published in May 2011 by the National Commission for Human Rights (Comisionado Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, CONADEH) states that in the country’s rural communities, the average monthly salary of women who head a household is approximately 1,982 lempiras (HNL) [108.02 Canadian dollars (CAD) (XE 22 Sept. 2011a)] while the average monthly salary of men who head a household is 2,187 HNL [119.22 CAD (XE 22 Sept. 2011b)] (CONADEH 17 May 2011).

In correspondence sent to the Research Directorate, the Director of the Quality of Life Association (Asociación Calidad de Vida), which, in collaboration with other national organizations, provides support to girls and women who are victims of violence, stated that the majority of women who head a household work [translation] “in the informal labour sector”; they are street vendors, work as domestic employees or have small home businesses “that do not enable them to meet their basic monthly needs or the needs of their children” (Asociación Calidad de Vida 23 Sept. 2011). She stated that their monthly salary is between 58 and 78 (USD) (ibid.).

According to data from the Ministry of Labour, other women work as [translation] “low-skilled workers” in assembly plants (maquila), in health services, or as cooks; they earn a minimum [monthly] salary of 290 USD in urban areas and 213 USD in rural areas (ibid). A family’s minimum monthly expenses are 335 USD (ibid.; CONADEH 17 May 2011).

According to the Director, since the women must alone take on the economic burden, the domestic tasks and the children’s education, this overload of work leads them into [translation] “social isolation and, consequently, towards solitude,” and they have no time for themselves (Asociación Calidad de Vida 23 Sept. 2011). She also stated that single mothers [translation] “tend to be dependent on other people, socially, economically and emotionally, so they can easily become victims of ill treatment, abuse and exploitation” (ibid.).

Still according to the Director, single mothers constitute [translation] “one of the most vulnerable social groups in terms of the various problems related to health and living conditions” (ibid.). Among women who head a household, the rate of illiteracy and the level of poverty are higher - some of the basic needs of these women are not met because they have several children (ibid.). In addition, women who head a household are an average of ten years older than men in the same position (ibid.).

The unemployment rate is higher among women than it is among men; this inequality is also reflected in the lower salaries paid to women for the same work (ibid.). An article published by La Tribuna states that thousands of women in the workplace are victims of gender-based discrimination (25 Jan.2011). The article tells the story of a girl who lost her job to a man who was appointed head and paid 2,000 HNL more [109.21 CAD (XE 22 Sept. 2011c)] to do the same job (La Tribuna 25 Jan.2011). In addition, according to a 2010 household survey, men are able to find a job faster than women (ibid.).

According to Country Reports for Human Rights Practices for 2010, “[t]he law requires employers to pay women equal wages for equivalent work, but employers often classified women’s jobs as less demanding than those of men to justify women’s lower salaries” (US 8 Apr. 2011, 32). Country Reports states that, in the textile export industry, one of the hiring conditions for women is that they take a pregnancy test (ibid.).

Housing

According to a 2010 study by the National Institute of Statistics (Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas), the results of which were published in an article in La Tribuna, 72.2 percent of women who head a household own their home, 14.3 percent rent a home and, in 8.5 percent of the cases, they live in the home at no cost (La Tribuna 8 May 2011). In addition, the article states that the large majority of these households have access to running water through a private network (47.1 percent) or public network (42.2 percent) (ibid.). The article states that 472,000 of these households have access to electricity, while 13.5 percent of them are lighted by sources including candles and gas lamps (ibid.). Of a total of 550,767 households headed by women, more than 318,000 are urban, while almost 227,000 are rural (ibid.).

However, the Director of the Quality of Life Association stated that [translation] “the inequality renders access to decent housing more difficult for women who head a household”; since they do not have a stable job or much education, [translation] “the possibility that they would have access to decent housing is virtually nonexistent” (Asociación Calidad de Vida 23 Sept. 2011). She specified that, when a woman lives in a couple with her spouse, the family home and the land in a rural area is the property of the man; in the case of separation, the woman must find a new home for herself and her children (ibid.). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Government support

According to the Director of the Quality of Life Association, the government has made health services governed by the Honduran Institute of Social Security (Instituto Hondureño de Seguridad Social) more accessible to domestic employees and provided economic support to women who head a household by providing them with an annual subsidy of 10,000 HNL, which equates to 526.00 USD (Asociación Calidad de Vida 23 Sept. 2011). According to an article published by the Government of Honduras, Bono 10,000 is a financial assistance program that provides a subsidy of 10,000 HNL annually to the poorest families in the country (Honduras 18 June 2010).

In additional correspondence sent to the Research Directorate, the Director of the Quality of Life Association stated that the subsidy has been offered for one year and that it was originally for women who headed a household (Asociación Calidad de Vida 17 Oct.2011). She explained that it was then offered to the least fortunate families in the country and that 132 USD is given to the mother of the family every three months through the school (ibid.). In order to be entitled to it, their children must be enrolled in school (ibid.; Honduras 18 June 2010) and be present on the day the subsidy is given; if they are absent or if the teachers are on strike that day, they lose it completely (Asociación Calidad de Vida 17 Oct.2011). An article published by the government states that mothers are required to take their children to the help centres regularly for medical and nutritional follow-up (Honduras 18 June 2010). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

With respect to government support for women who are victims of violence, the UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women indicates that a telephone helpline called Live Without Violence and With Respect (Vivir sin violencia y con respeto), or Line 114, provides help to women who are victims of spousal violence (UN 22 Oct.2010a). As of 22 October 2010, only women living in Tegucigalpa could use Line 114 (ibid.). The database also states that there are six shelters in the country, set up by women’s organizations and funded by the government, that provide assistance to women who are victims of different kinds of violence (ibid. 22 Oct.2010b). However, Country Reports states that there are four shelters for abused women, two operated by the government and two others operated by non-governmental organizations, but that, because of a lack of financial and other resources, they do not operate effectively (US 8 Apr. 2011, 31).

Violence against women

The results of a study by the Centre for Women’s Studies (Centro de Estudios de la Mujer) show that, in 2010, [translation] “90 percent of crimes against women were committed by men with whom they had had an emotional relationship” (El Heraldo 21 Feb. 2011). In addition, the article states that according to that same study, allegedly only five percent of the femicides committed in 2010 were solved (ibid.). A professor at the National Autonomous University of Honduras (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras) was cited in that article as saying [translation] “crimes against women are the least investigated” (ibid.).

According to a bulletin from the Centre for Women’s Rights (Centro de Derechos de Mujeres, CDM), there were 343 femicides in Honduras in 2010, and the majority of them took place [translation] “in the departments of Francisco Morazán and Cortés, and more specifically, in the cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula and in the neighbouring cities” (CDM 2010). According to the data of the National Directorate of Criminal Investigation (Dirección Nacional de Investigación Criminal) in another CDM report, from January to June 2011, there were 185 femicides in the country, an increase of nearly 25 percent compared with the same period in 2010 (CDM 2011). It also indicates that between January and June 2011, almost 75 percent of the homicides in the country were recorded mainly in the department of Cortés, followed by the department of Francisco Morazán, and that 64 percent of the victims were women 15 to 34 years old (ibid.).

In addition, 2,869 complaints of sexual violence were filed with the Public Ministry in 2010; 47 percent of these complaints came from the departments of Cortés, Francisco Morazán and Comayagua (CDM 2010). More than 19,000 complaints of spousal violence were filed in 2010, of which 55 percent came from the departments of Francisco Morazán and Cortés (ibid.). The CDM bulletin states that obtaining access to justice takes approximately 35 percent longer for women who are victims of spousal violence than for victims of other kinds of crimes (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Asociación Calidad de Vida. 17 October 2011. Correspondence sent to the Research Directorate by the Director.

_____. 23 September 2011. Correspondence sent to the Research Directorate by the Director.

Centro de Derechos de Mujeres (CDM). 2011. “Femicidios en Honduras Enero-Junio 2011.” <http://www.derechosdelamujer.org/index.php?option=com_rubberdoc&view=category&id=23%3Aviolencia&Itemid=61> [Accessed 19 Sept. 2011]

_____. 2010. “Violencia contra las mujeres 2010.” <http://www.derechosdelamujer.org/index.php?option=com_rubberdoc&view=category&id=23%3Aviolencia&Itemid=61> [Accessed 19 Sept. 2011]

Comisionado Nacional de los Derechos Humanos (CONADEH). 17 May 2011. “Seguridad alimentaria.” <http://www.conadeh.hn/Joomla/index.php/component/content/article/348-seguridad-alimentaria> [Accessed 16 Sept. 2011]

El Heraldo [Tegucigalpa]. 21 February 2011. “Unos cien niños huérfanos por femicidios en 2011.” <http://www.elheraldo.hn/Sucesos/Ediciones/2011/02/22/Noticias/Unos-cien-ninos-huerfanos-por-femicidios-en-2011> [Accessed 16 Sept. 2011]

_____. 9 March 2009. “Un femicidio cada 48 horas en Honduras.” <http://www.elheraldo.hn/Pa%C3%ADs/Ediciones/2009/03/09/Noticias/Un-femicidio-cada-48-horas-en-Honduras> [Accessed 16 Sept. 2011]

Honduras. 18 June 2010. Gobierno de Honduras. “Bono Diez Mil llega a municipios de Choluteca y Valle.” <http://www.gob.hn/general/noticias_portal/bonocholuteca.htm> [Accessed 5 Oct.2011]

La Tribuna [Tegucigalpa]. 8 May 2011. “Más de 500,000 madres se sacrifican para mantener hogares en Honduras.” <http://www.latribuna.hn/2011/05/08/mas-de-500000-madres-se-sacrifican-para-mantener-hogares-en-honduras/> [Accessed 16 Sept. 2011]

_____. 25 January 2011. “Más de medio millón de mujeres son jefas de hogares en Honduras.” <http://www.latribuna.hn/2011/01/25/mas-de-medio-millon-de-mujeres-son-jefas-de-hogares-en-honduras/> [Accessed 16 Sept. 2011]

United Nations (UN). 22 October 2010a. The UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women. “Línea 114 ‘Vivir sin violencia y con respeto’.” <http://webapps01.un.org/vawdatabase/searchDetail.action?measureId=38583&baseHREF=country&baseHREFId=612> [Accessed 3 Oct.2011]

_____. 22 October 2010b. The UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women. “Casas refugio.” <http://webapps01.un.org/vawdatabase/searchDetail.action?measureId=38590&baseHREF=country&baseHREFId=612> [Accessed 3 Oct.2011]

United States (US). 8 April 2011. Department of State. “Honduras”. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010. <http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/wha/154510.htm> [Accessed 20 Sept. 2011]

XE. 22 September 2011a. “Résultats du convertisseur universel de devises.” <http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert/?Amount=1982&From=HNL&To=CAD> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2011]

_____. 22 September 2011b. “Résultats du convertisseur universel de devises.” <http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert/?Amount=2187&From=HNL&To=CAD> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2011]

_____. 22 September 2011c. “Résultats du convertisseur universel de devises.” <http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert/?Amount=2000&From=HNL&To=CAD> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2011]

Additional Sources Consulted

Sources orales:Attempts to contact representatives of the following organizations were unsuccessful: Asociación Hondureña de Mujeres Negras, Asociación SOLITAS, Central Nacional de Trabajadoras del Campo, Centro de Derechos de Mujeres, Centro de Estudios y Acción para el Desarrollo de Honduras, Centro de Estudios de la Mujer Honduras, Colectiva de Mujeres Hondureñas, Colectivo de Mujeres Hondureñas, Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo de la Educación Alternativa No Formal, Instituto Nacional de la Mujer, Instituto Universitario en Democracia Paz y Seguridad, Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz Visitación Padilla, and Observatorio de la Violencia.

Internet sites, including:Amnesty International, Comisionado Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, Comité de América Latina y El Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de la Mujer, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Factiva, Freedom House, Global Integrity, Human Rights Watch, Overseas Security Advisory Council, La Prensa.