El Salvador posts highest rate of women murdered in Latin America

Santiago (AFP) –


El Salvador has earned a grim distinction: it is the country with the highest rate of femicide in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2017, with more than 10 killings for every 100,000 women.

Across the region, at least 2,795 women aged 15 and older were murdered last year due to their gender, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said Thursday.

In absolute terms, Brazil had the most murders of women with 1,133, but given El Salvador's much smaller population, its rate easily outpaced that seen in other countries.

Femicide "has a scope in El Salvador that is seen nowhere else in the region," the organization said as it released the report from its Gender Equality Observatory.

Even though 18 Latin American countries -- including Brazil and El Salvador -- have changed their laws to make killing women a crime, the situation continues unabated.

"Femicide is the most extreme expression of violence against women," said ECLAC's executive secretary, Alicia Barcena.

"Neither the criminal classification of this offense nor the efforts to make it statistically visible have been enough to eradicate this scourge that alarms and horrifies us on a daily basis."

Honduras, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Bolivia have also seen high rates of murders of women of at least two per 100,000.

In the region, only Panama, Peru and Venezuela had rates under one murder for every 100,000 women.

ECLAC called on leaders to "consider women's diversity and the varied ways in which violence against them is manifested," as crimes against women also usually have economic, age, racial and cultural components.