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Honduras: government authorities and ICRC sign agreement to address the consequences of violence in schools

25-08-2010 News Release 10/158

Tegucigalpa (ICRC) – The Honduran Ministry of Education and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today signed a cooperation agreement to launch the “Opening Humanitarian Spaces” project, which seeks to prevent and mitigate the impact of organized violence in a number of the country’s schools.

According to official statistics, in 2009 alone over 500 young people aged between 10 and 19 were murdered. This figure equates to over 10% of all murders countrywide. On a daily basis, pupils and teachers are attacked, robbed and threatened, all of which has physical and emotional effects.

“Rising levels of violence affecting young people in Honduras are a matter of great concern to the ICRC,” said Karl Mattli, head of the ICRC's regional delegation for Mexico, Central America and Cuba. “The aim of this formal education project by the ICRC and the Ministry of Education is to study and provide solutions to the problems caused by the violence experienced daily by young people and their teachers. "

“Opening Humanitarian Spaces” seeks to promote respect for human life and dignity among students and teachers at 20 educational establishments in the five areas most severely affected by the violence – Atlántida, Colón, Copán, Cortés and Francisco Morazán. It aims to do so through educational modules that will include first aid training and psychosocial support. Among other activities, risk prevention manuals will be prepared for students and teachers. In addition, the ICRC will cover some of the medical expenses incurred by pupils and teachers directly affected by violence.

The Ministry of Education and the ICRC have been working in close cooperation since 2006 as part of the " Exploring Humanitarian Law " programme, which aims to raise awareness among young people of humanitarian rules and principles. " Opening Humanitarian Spaces " is a new phase that will focus more closely on students and teachers affected by violence.

For more information, please contact:
  Dénes Benczédi, ICRC Mexico, tel: + (+52 55) 25 81 21 10