- On 12 August, the proposal was handed over to the Minister of the Secretariat for Women’s Affairs (SEMUJER) and the Vice-President of the National Congress in order to advance its approval or its inclusion in a possible ” integral law” that is currently in the elaboration process.
- The draft law on Safe Houses was passed by the National Congress in 2018, but has not been debated since then..
- The law aims to ensure that the ten existing shelters in Honduras have state funding to operate and do not survive on international cooperation alone.
Fundación ETEA – Development Institute of University Loyola has been supporting the Fundación Casa Hogar de Santa Rosa de Copán, one of the ten shelters in Honduras, for years. It is currently doing so through an Andalusian cooperation project to improve prevention and care services for victims of gender violence and people with alcohol and drug dependency. Part of this work has focused on accompanying, together with other national and international cooperation organisations, the National Network of Safe Houses in advocating for the approval of the law on Safe Houses in Honduras.
The latest progress in this area took place on 12 August with the holding of two meetings to socialise and share the draft law with governmental sectors responsible for drafting, approving and executing these legal processes. The first event, linked to the legislative sector, consisted of a meeting with lawyer Isis Cuellar, member of the National Congress, vice-president of the National Congress, vice-president of the Defence and Sovereignty Committee and vice-president of the International Relations Committee. The event was also attended by the Casa Hogar Foundation and SEMUJER Western Region, as the governing body for gender policies in the sector. In addition, the Network against Gender Violence of Santa Rosa de Copán held a second meeting to present the document to Doris García, Minister of the Secretariat of Women’s Affairs (SEMUJER).
A long process of advocacy
After the beginning of the process of presenting this initiative in 2018, review sessions were held on the opinion received from the National Congress in the following years.
Recently, in February of this year, all the Honduran deputies of the recently formed National Congress were invited to an event to present this draft law with the aim of gaining their support for its approval during the first 100 days of government.
These recent meetings aim to ensure that the Congress prioritises this law to be presented and debated among state institutions and the different sectors involved in its drafting (shelters, feminist organisations, international cooperation organisations, etc.) for its subsequent approval and entry into force.
What are the main demands of the law on safe houses in Honduras?
The purpose of the Safe Houses is to provide temporary and safe shelter for women victims of gender-based violence or women who are at risk due to a special condition of vulnerability (migrant, returned migrant, refugee, displaced, victim of trafficking and other similar circumstances), who may be accompanied by their children, the latter up to the age of 12, guaranteeing them psychosocial, legal, educational and health support in a comprehensive manner.
The draft law aims at the creation, recognition, financial sustainability and operation of the Shelter Houses in Honduras. Among some of the measures included, the document regulates the creation and functioning of a special Commission for Shelter Houses in Honduras, with coordination and monitoring responsibilities. In addition, it promotes a National Programme of Safe Houses in Honduras, to guarantee inter-institutional coordination at national, departmental and municipal level of public or private entities that offer refuge to women victims of violence and their families.
It is also intended to establish the allocation of part of the national budget for the operation of the shelters, thus reducing dependence on international cooperation funds and providing for the possible opening of new shelters in the country.