Honduras

Honduras

Case Studies

Mainstreaming Gender in the framework of SDC’s Citizen Security Programme in Honduras (Swiss Mandate)

The Swiss Development Cooperation’s (SDC) Citizen Security programme in Honduras, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), supported the implementation of the Government Policy on Comprehensive Civic Coexistence and Public Safety from 2013 to 2018. DCAF-ISSAT and Swedepeace partnered as the Swiss JSSR Team to provide technical backstopping support1 to SDC and their partners during this period with a focus on supporting the police reform process.

As part of the police reform process, the National Police are driving forward a doctrinal shift towards a comprehensive community policing strategy that, amongst other goals, seeks to strengthen cooperation with government agencies including those working on gender equality and protection of vulnerable groups, and to reform the police education system which is considered to be military in culture.

The methodology designed by the Swiss JSSR Team to support SDC and partners, the Secretary for Security (SEDS), was adjusted in accordance with expressed needs over time. This resulted in a heavy focus on strategic change management of the police applying tools consistent with a conflict-sensitive programme management (CSPM) approach. 

However, it was only in the later phases of the backstopping that the Swiss JSSR Team was able to effectively exploit a key entry point for gender equality promotion. When supporting the SEDS Strategic Planning Unit (SPU) theory of change (ToC) design for the implementation of their national strategy, the Swiss JSSR Team was able to steer the ToC Working Group towards alignment with national policies on gender equality.

Key to this was the vocal support of the Head of the SPU who would also become a key ally and cornerstone of the proposed ToC (see video link). The subsequent missions were able to build on this momentum by actively seeking more gender equality entry points as part of the monitoring of the SDC support programme results framework, which was a central component of the backstopping. Other factors that enabled the Swiss JSSR Team to promote gender equality in the backstopping was the incorporation of a national expert, who brought valuable experience working with women’s organisations, and an ISSAT SSR Officer specialising in human rights-based approaches (HRBA).

During one backstopping mission in 2017, workshops with the SDC were conducted in Tegucigalpa to specifically identify HRBA and gender equality entry points in their new police reform support programme. Working through a conflict-sensitive scenario analysis it was recommended that the new programme should seek the development of internal policies that would strengthen system-wide internal complaints mechanisms. Such policies should include those specifically for addressing gender quality and sexual harassment, in contrast to another proposal to support the creation of a gender unit in the police basic training college which would be expected to respond to complaints in the backdrop of a system lacking supporting policies. A parallel recommendation included the promotion of a female police officer’s association, which would aim to influence internal policy on gender equality. This recommendation was inspired by the female police officer’s Association created in Ecuador in 2017. However, after consulting with the national counterpart, it was decided the timing was not appropriate citing a fear of stigmatisation or backlash against officers championing such a proposal.

In this context, the methodology’s conflict-sensitive approach, such as using the scenario analysis tool, enabled the backstopping to gain a greater appreciation of the challenges that female and male gender champions in police institutions are facing, as well as a deeper understanding of the conditions necessary for institutional change towards gender equality. This information would later influence the gender equality strategy contemplated for the 2018-2022 SDC programme of support to the government of Honduras.

Takeaways from 2017 backstopping:

  1. Consistent messaging backing gender equality from the senior SEDS SPU police manager was the catalyst for steering discussions during the ToC workshops in a direction that allowed the Working Group to identify gender equality entry points for inter-institutional synergies.
  2. The focus on strategic change management in the backstopping methodology enabled the close interaction with SEDS police managers that was needed to effectively support them to incorporate elements of the national gender equality policy, as outcomes, in the proposed national police strategy ToC.
  3. The Swiss JSSR Team national expert’s previous experience working with women’s organisations on the topic of security played an important role in understanding the challenges that police institutions face when promoting gender equality. Consultations with the National Police Gender Unit also benefited as did the overall quality of conflict sensitivity analysis in backstopping methodology.

Recommendations:

  1. Include in the backstopping team local relevant expertise when advising justice and security sector partners towards greater compliance with gender equality principles. This means incorporating gender equality into the methodology from the design, including when planning for a conflict-sensitive approach.
  2. When applying a ToC framework to similar backstopping support, HRBA and gender equality principles need to be framed as solutions to insecurity rather than adherence to an obligatory institutional check list process. This narrative should also influence the conflict-sensitive approach.
  3. Consultations with national counterparts should be continuous in the backstopping methodology to ensure the promotion of gender equality is informed and driven by the beneficiaries but also to ensure that no harm is done in the process.

1Specifically, the Swiss JSSR Team engaged the SDC and partners in strategic change management of the police, strengthening civil society participation and influence, providing technical advice and support to SDC and counterparts, including JSSR thematic training, and introducing tools for conflict sensitivity, political dialogue, stakeholder analysis, scenario analysis and theory of change (ToC). 

case study

Videos

Holistic Approach to Supporting National Ownership in JSSR

Bjorn Holmberg discusses the critical role of civil society play in the JSSR process, particularly in terms of strengthening accountability and governance. Bjorn also emphasis the importance of supporting civil society during the national ownership process of JSSR. 

Bjorn Holmberg

Dr. Björn Holmberg has more than 20 years of field and HQ experience on issues related to peace and human security from a theoretical and a “hands-on” perspective. He is presently Secretary General of Swedepeace Foundation (2009-), a non-profit and impartial foundation promoting peaceful conflict resolution and human security. He holds a Ph.D. in Peace and Conflict Research from Uppsala University and was commissioned as an Officer in the Army Reserve at the Swedish Infantry’s Officer Academy in 1989.  Dr. Holmberg has been published on different topics such as causes of war, conflict analysis, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, SSR, DDR, etc. Currently, Dr. Björn Holmberg is the leader of the Swiss JSSR Support Team providing support to the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and Partners Inter-American Bank in their Programme Integrated Security Sector Reform and Violence Prevention in Honduras.

video

Application of Tools Supporting the Theory of Change

Björn Holmberg discusses the application different tools that support a Theory of Change and how they can help make a common vision more clearer as well as  identify potential risks that may occur. These supporting tools include: Context analysis, actor analysis, scenario analysis, conflict analysis and conflict sensitive analysis. 

Björn Holmberg

Dr. Björn Holmberg has more than 20 years of field and HQ experience on issues related to peace and human security from a theoretical and a “hands-on” perspective. He is presently Secretary General of Swedepeace Foundation (2009-), a non-profit and impartial foundation promoting peaceful conflict resolution and human security. He holds a Ph.D. in Peace and Conflict Research from Uppsala University and was commissioned as an Officer in the Army Reserve at the Swedish Infantry’s Officer Academy in 1989.  Dr. Holmberg has been published on different topics such as causes of war, conflict analysis, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, SSR, DDR, etc. Currently, Dr. Björn Holmberg is the leader of the Swiss JSSR Support Team providing support to the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and Partners Inter-American Bank in their Programme Integrated Security Sector Reform and Violence Prevention in Honduras.

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Identifying dimensions of fragility in JSSR

Björn Holmberg focuses on the importance of identifying the different dimensions of institutional fragility when supporting JSSR. Björn provides examples of the detrimental consequences a weak civil service and the impact of the illegal drug trade can have on JSSR. 

Björn Holmberg

Dr. Björn Holmberg has more than 20 years of field and HQ experience on issues related to peace and human security from a theoretical and a “hands-on” perspective. He is presently Secretary General of Swedepeace Foundation (2009-), a non-profit and impartial foundation promoting peaceful conflict resolution and human security. He holds a Ph.D. in Peace and Conflict Research from Uppsala University and was commissioned as an Officer in the Army Reserve at the Swedish Infantry’s Officer Academy in 1989.  Dr. Holmberg has been published on different topics such as causes of war, conflict analysis, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, SSR, DDR, etc. Currently, Dr. Björn Holmberg is the leader of the Swiss JSSR Support Team providing support to the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and Partners Inter-American Bank in their Programme Integrated Security Sector Reform and Violence Prevention in Honduras.

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Aid effectiveness in JSSR

Björn Holmberg discusses the challenges facing aid effectiveness when supporting JSSR, highlighting the importance of donors supporting national ownership and national consensus in a cohesive manner. 

Björn Holmberg

Dr. Björn Holmberg has more than 20 years of field and HQ experience on issues related to peace and human security from a theoretical and a “hands-on” perspective. He is presently Secretary General of Swedepeace Foundation (2009-), a non-profit and impartial foundation promoting peaceful conflict resolution and human security. He holds a Ph.D. in Peace and Conflict Research from Uppsala University and was commissioned as an Officer in the Army Reserve at the Swedish Infantry’s Officer Academy in 1989.  Dr. Holmberg has been published on different topics such as causes of war, conflict analysis, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, SSR, DDR, etc. Currently, Dr. Björn Holmberg is the leader of the Swiss JSSR Support Team providing support to the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and Partners Inter-American Bank, in their Programme Integrated Security Sector Reform and Violence Prevention in Honduras.

video

Children Who Flee Violence in Central America Face Dangers in Mexico

To raise awareness, especially in Mexico, about the vulnerability of Central American migrants and the threats that they are fleeing, WOLA has released a series of videos featuring Central American youth who escaped north. The young women describe the dangers they left behind, the risks of traveling through Mexico, the crimes they were victims of in Mexico, and their experiences being deported from Mexico.

For details and full access to the video Children Who Flee Violence in Central America Face Dangers in Mexico, kindly follow the link.

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Gerson Velásquez - Gender Mainstreaming

Watch an interview with Police Commissioner Gerson Velásquez, recorded by ISSAT during a recent mandate in Honduras

Commissioner Gerson Velásquez mentions opportunities for integrating gender mainstreaming to security sector reform. He also comments on the difficulties facing change and insists on the need for the police to take a more specific approach in regards to gender issues.

The original video in Spanish is also available with French subtitles

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Advising as a police peer in the middle of a police reform process: Lessons from Honduras

ISSAT police expert Gregory Jaquet talks about local ownership and police reform, and how to ask the right questions as an effective advisor in the Security Sector Reform field before helping to implement plans for reform.

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Mise en place d'une approche sensible au conflit faisant partie intégrante des expertises police

Interview avec Gregory Jaquet, expert police chez ISSAT.

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Podcasts

Citizen Security in Central America: Root Causes and New Approaches

In December, the U.S. Congress approved a big increase in aid to Central America’s “Northern Triangle” countries – El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The US$750 million seeks to address the so-called “root causes” of violence that is now so severe that over 111,000 children from these three countries were apprehended in the United States or Mexico, while traveling unaccompanied, just between June 2014 and December 2015.

In this podcast by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the hosts look at the causes of Central America’s insecurity crisis and how the United States has chosen to respond. They look at some of the concerns in Congress and elsewhere about political will, corruption, and human rights, and discuss strategies that can help Central Americans feel safer where they live—without repeating the ineffective and military-heavy approaches of the past.

They are joined by:

  • Geoff Thale, WOLA’s Program Director;
  • Adriana Beltrán, WOLA’s Senior Associate for Citizen Security;
  • José Luis Sanz of El Salvador’s El Faro ; and
  • Héctor Silva Avalos of American University.

For full access to the podcast about Citizen Security in Central America: Root Causes and New Approaches, kindly follow the link.

Podcast

Hamas’ Costly Options for Ending the Gaza Blockade

World Politics Review's weekly Trend Lines podcast addresses the SSR-related topics of the militarisation of police in Honduras and of transitional justice in Côte d'Ivoire after which it touches upon political prospects for Turkey, Syria and Iraq’s Kurds and then Hamas’ options for ending Gaza’s isolation. The discussion highlights the Honduran trend away from civilian policing and Côte d'Ivoire's apparent 'victor's justice'. 

To access the World Politics Review podcast on Hamas’ Costly Options for Ending the Gaza Blockade, kindly follow the link.

Podcast

Policy and Research Papers

Gangs in Honduras

honduras_gangs

Executive Summary:

In the last two decades, Honduras has seen a significant increase in gang membership, gang criminal activity, and gang-related violence. The uptick in violence has been particularly troubling. In 2014, Honduras was considered the most violent nation in the world that was not at war. Although high impunity rates and lack of reliable data make it difficult to assess how many of these murders are gang-related, it’s clear that the gangs’ use of violence -- against rivals, civilians, security forces and perceived transgressors within their own ranks -- has greatly contributed to these numbers. Among the areas hardest hit are the country’s urban centers. Honduras’ economic capital, San Pedro Sula, is, according to some, the world’s most violent city, with a homicide rate of 142 for every 100,000 people.1 The political capital Tegucigalpa has a homicide rate of 81 per 100,000.2 The third largest city, La Ceiba, has a murder rate of 95 per 100,000. 3 These are also the areas where the gangs, in particular the two most prominent, the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) and Barrio 18, have the greatest presence and influence. The emergence of hyper-violent street gangs happened relatively quickly in Honduras. In the late 1990s, following legislation in the United States that led to increased deportation of ex-convicts, numerous MS13 and Barrio 18 members arrived in the country. By the early 2000s, these two gangs, along with several local groups, had begun a bloody battle for territory -- and the extortion revenue and drug markets that goes with it -- that continues to this day. The government responded by passing so-called “iron fist” legislation and arresting thousands of suspected gang members. Instead of slowing the growth of gangs, however, the policy allowed them to consolidate their leadership within the prison system, expand their economic portfolios and make contact with other criminal organizations. This report covers the current state of gangs in Honduras. Specifically, it examines the history, geographic presence, structure and modus operandi of Barrio 18 and MS13 in the country. It also analyzes how the gangs may be developing into more sophisticated criminal organizations. It looks closely at examples that illustrate how some parts of these two gangs are winning the support of the local communities in which they operate. Finally, it gives an overview of some of the other street gangs operating in Honduras.

Read more about Gangs in Honduras

This report is also available in Spanish

Paper

What Works in Reducing Community Violence: Spotlight on Central America and Mexico

The Wilson Center’s Latin American Program is pleased to launch an innovative report from Harvard’s Kennedy School that identifies promising strategies for reducing community violence and suggests how evidenced-informed policy options might be adapted to high violence areas in Mexico and Central America. 

For full access to the report on What Works in Reducing Community Violence: Spotlight on Central America and Mexico, kindly follow the link. 

Paper

Amérique Centrale : L'insécurité endémique des pays du triangle Nord

Cet article se penche sur la région d'Amérique Latine appelée « Triangle nord » (Guatemala, Honduras et Salvador), qui est devenue l’une des plus dangereuses au monde. Il souligne le rôle de l’échec des politiques de lutte contre les gangs, mais également de la pauvreté, de la corruption et de l’impunité dans l'aggravation de la violence. 

Pour accéder à l'étude Amérique Centrale : L'insécurité endémique des pays du triangle Nord, veuillez cliquer sur le lien.

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Mafia of the Poor: Gang Violence and Extortion in Central America

Central American gangs are responsible for brutal acts of violence, abuse of women and forced displacement of thousands. Based on interviews with officials and experts in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, this report discusses new forms of regional collaboration in law enforcement among the countries of the Northern Triangle.

For full access to the paper, Mafia of the Poor: Gang Violence and Extortion in Central America, kindly follow the link. 

Paper

EU support for Justice and Security Sector Reform in Honduras and Guatemala

This desk study reviews the literature on EU programmes that supported security and justice reform in Guatemala and Honduras, focusing on two: the programme in support of the security sector (PASS) in Honduras and the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG). The report reviews these programmes and reflects on the capabilities of the EU.

For full access to the paper, EU support for Justice and Security Sector  Reform in Honduras and Guatemala, kindly follow the link.

Paper

Reform without Ownership? Dilemmas in Supporting Security and Justice Sector Reform in Honduras

Honduras’ security and justice sector suffers from severe deficiencies. It remains largely inefficient and unable to safeguard security and the rule of law for its citizens. Criminal investigative units are plagued with serious problems of incompetence, corruption and progressive penetration by organised crime. The judiciary lacks independence and is subject to systematic political interference. Inter-institutional coordination is poor and flawed by a climate of mutual mistrust and rivalry over competencies.

This report describes and analyses the EU’s contribution to strengthening security and the rule of law in Honduras through a major security sector reform (SSR) programme earmarked with a budget of €44 million. The report underlines the crucial need for increased local ownership as a sine qua non condition if the EU’s endeavours are to trigger sustainable institutional change and thus further human security in Honduras. The report also examines prospects for the creation of an international commission against impunity, following the example of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).

Paper

Other Documents

Newsletter Amérique Latine 2/2015 | Direction du Développement et de la Coopération (DDC): Le Programme de la DDC pour les Droits de l'Homme au Hon...

Aujourd'hui au Honduras, la violence constitue un frein au développement social du pays. Comment la DDC a-telle réagi à cette situation ? Des efforts entrepris depuis 2011 en collaboration avec le Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement (PNUD) visent à renforcer les droits de l’homme à différents échelons de l’Etat et de la société. Le programme a posé les bases pour l’ouverture d’un bureau du Haut-Commissariat des Nations Unies aux Droits de l’Homme à Honduras. Financé en grande partie par la DDC, celui-ci entamera ses activités en 2015.

Other Document

Backstopping: Swiss Mandate in Honduras

The rule of law architecture in Honduras is weak. Organised crime and a strong youth gang culture— involved in extortion and in activities linked to the drug trade (Honduras is on the main drug trafficking route from South America to the US)—represent significant challenges. The Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in  Honduras (MACCIH), established via a recent signed agreement between the Organization of American States (OAS) and Honduran Government will seek to dismantle corruption networks operating in the country. Although different from the International Commission against impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), the OAS mission will still offer independency and the ability to closely follow the actors of the justice and security sector.

Other Document

Developing a Theory of Change for Justice and Security Sector Reform in Honduras

ISSAT and Swedepeace had a standing engagement in Honduras since 2013 providing technical assistance to the Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation (SDC) and their partners in civil society Alliance for Peace and Justice (APJ), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Secretary of Security of Honduras (SEDS). The Swiss JSSR Team supported the SEDS in their strategic planning by training on and applying a theory of change (ToC). The ToC process was a timely tool for this exercise, as it provided an opportunity to internally reflect on their current planning process and how it will impact externally. The process also allowed for a common understanding for base line to be developed as well as the definition of a desired end-state.

Kindly find the mandate report attached. 

For more information on the mandate Backstopping Support to SDC Honduras (2016-18), kindly follow the link. 

Other Document

Monitoring ISSAT’s Commitment to Gender Equality - Pilot Report 2017

In 2018, ISSAT initiated a pilot case-study to demonstrate its commitment to gender equality during the 2017 reporting cycle. The purpose of the pilot report and the case study is to develop a model for internal monitoring of ISSAT’s gender-sensitive approach that would enable senior management to quality control our commitment to gender equality as well as select the most emblematic case studies for internal learning, public dissemination and reporting.

For ISSAT's report on Gender and SSR 2016, kindly follow the link. 

Other Document