More than 50 lawyers were murdered in Honduras between 2010 and 2012, according to a government report, with almost total impunity for their killers.
In the first three years of President Porfirio Lobo's rule 53 lawyers were murdered, yet only two people have been convicted in the cases, according to a report submitted to the Honduran Congress by the country's National Human Rights Commission.
The lawyers, 43 of whom were men, worked not only in criminal law, but also in areas such as commercial and family law, reported La Tribuna. Some worked as public prosecutors, while some provided legal advice to unions and campesino social movements.
The majority were killed inside their vehicles, often in front of their family, friends, colleagues or clients. Of the 53 murders, 49 were carried out with a firearm.
InSight Crime Analysis The figures from Honduras demonstrate how crime and insecurity reach deep into national life, impacting on commercial activities and social movements in Latin America. Politicians and members of the security forces often find themselves directly in the firing line of criminal groups if they stand in the way of their activities, refuse to join forces with one group, or ally with their rivals.
Journalists are also commonly targeted by criminal groups trying to suppress information on their activities, and in recent years Mexico and Honduras have earned the reputation as being amongst the world's most dangerous countries for reporters.
Colombia, meanwhile, has become notorious for the murder of trade unionists, which has continued even after the demobilization of right-wing paramilitary groups, who left behind far less politicized successors.
In Honduras, groups like gay rights activists and taxi drivers are also frequent targets of violence, as the Economist noted recently.