Monday, December 31, 2007

More than 500 Honduran youths murdered in 2007 - swissinfo

More than 500 Honduran youths murdered in 2007 - swissinfo: "More than 500 Honduran youths murdered in 2007

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - More than 500 children and youths were murdered in Honduras in 2007, a fifth more than last year, victims of gang violence, death squads, drug hit men and even police shootings, a rights group said on Friday.

Almost 4,000 children and youths under 22 have been murdered in the poor Central American country over the past decade, said rights group Casa Alianza, which works to protect minors in Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru.

'Hit men, death squads and even police officers are killing the children and young people. State security forces are incapable of stopping these murders,' said Casa Alianza's Honduran representative, Manuel Capellin.

Many murdered youths, some as young as 12, are members of Honduras' violent gangs and are caught up in rival killings.

Some police officers are accused of killing youths after gangs attacked officers, Casa Alianza and other rights groups say. Honduran police deny the charges.

Some 40 percent of the 7.5 million people in Honduras are 14 or younger.

(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia, editing by Eric Walsh)"