San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Number of homicides committed against women decreasing in Costa Rica

From January to October this year, a total of 14 women were murdered in Costa Rica, a 53 percent decrease over the same period last year, Costa Rica’s Women’s Issues Ministry reported Monday.

In 2012, 26 women were murdered, down from 64 in 2011, showing a steady decrease in femicide cases. 

Of the 14 victims in 2013, all were killed by husbands or former lovers, the ministry said.  

The numbers were reported during a Monday ceremony in San José to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. 

Officials from the National Women’s Institute said the decrease was “mostly achieved due to prevention policies” implemented by that agency.

Women’s Issues Minister Isabel Chamorro said at the ceremony that “this should be a day to promote more effective and efficient actions to prevent, and especially end, impunity.”

Public Security Minister Mario Zamora said ”the struggle for women’s rights is currently one of the most important operational objectives for the National Police.”

Last Friday, hundreds of people attended Costa Rica’s second Slut Walk in downtown San José to speak out against violence against women and denounce recent statements on rape by Accessibility Without Exclusion Party presidential candidate and former lawmaker Óscar López.

Costa Rica registers far fewer femicides than other countries in the region. El Salvador has the highest rate in the world, at 12 per 100,000 people, followed by Jamaica (10.9) and Guatemala (9.7), according to a 2012 report by the Small Arms Survey, an independent research project in Geneva, Switzerland.

According to the report, more than half of the 25 countries with very high femicide rates are in Latin America. Citing the same report, U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang pointed out that in 2011, 647 women were murdered in El Salvador and 375 in Guatemala. Femicide is considered to be the second leading cause of death of women of reproductive age in Honduras.

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