Central American homicide rates reaching 'crisis point': UN

[JURIST] Homicide rates in Central American countries, including El Salvador and Honduras, are reaching a "crisis point," according to a Thursday UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) [official website] report [text, PDF] detailing global rates of homicide. The report found that young men in Central and Southern America, Central and Southern Africa and the Caribbean are at the greatest risk of intentional homicide, while women remain at the greatest risk of being victims of homicide as a result of domestic violence. The UNODC noted that firearms were the cause of death in nearly three-fourths of the homicides in countries with the highest homicide rates, while they were the cause of death in only 21 percent of homicides in European countries. The report further asserts that gun crime is driving the rate of violent crimes in Central America and the Caribbean, which are the only regions to show rising homicide rates. The Executive Director of the UNODC, Yury Fedotov [official profile], indicated that any measures aimed at preventing crime must include the ratification and implementation of the Firearms Protocol [text, PDF], in order to address rising gun violence. The report also noted a correlation between crime and development, with countries experiencing wide income disparities being four times more likely to experience increased homicide rates than countries with low income disparity. Additionally, countries with higher rates of economic growth experience a decrease in homicide rates. Links between organized crime, particularly drug trafficking, and increased homicide rates as a result of gun violence were also noted by the UNODC.

In June 2010, the UNODC released a report [JURIST report] detailing the globalization of organized crime and its threat to international security. The report specifically addressed the global economic impact of human and drug trafficking, sale of illicit firearms, piracy, identity theft and the illegal exploitation of natural resources. The head of the UNODC announced the findings and warned of possible implications including the use of weapons and violence to buy elections, politicians and power. The report echoed warnings issued by the UNODC [JURIST report] in May 2010, stating that the inadequacies of the current international crime control system are allowing organized crime organizations to gain economic strength.

 

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