Panama City, June 21 (EFE).- Some of the almost 50 women killed in a Honduras prison riot and fire lived inside with their children, who are now highly vulnerable and in need of urgent psychosocial care, the United Nations’ children’s agency said Wednesday.
At least 46 people died in Tuesday’s incident, thought to have started as a brawl between two gangs, in Cefas women’s prison about 25 kilometers from the Honduran capital.
“Some of the women were living with their children in detention. These children are now left behind and highly vulnerable. I am deeply concerned about their well-being and safety,” Unicef Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Garry Conille said in a statement.
Conille said that “no parent wants to see their child exposed to such extreme violence. To help them cope with the trauma and loss, all survivors, including these children, urgently need special attention and psychosocial care.”
He added that “children should not be separated from their caregivers, unless it’s in their best interests” and that “all women and their children living in detention should be protected at all times.”
“We can’t let the children left behind get caught in a cycle of violence, exclusion and poverty. The only way we can break it is to ensure they have access to all social services. They deserve the opportunity to thrive,” stressed the official.
Conille pointed out that “unfortunately” this incident is not an isolated case in Latin America and the Caribbean “where violence is often a part of everyday life for too many children and women.”
He called on all countries in the region to guarantee the safety and well-being of children who live with their mothers in detention.
The bodies of most of the 23 positively identified victims were handed over to relatives overnight, while others are still seeking information on their loved ones.
Public Ministry spokesperson Yuri Mora told EFE that of the 46 women who died in the prison, 23 were due to injuries from guns and knives, and the other 23 due to burns from the fire that broke out during a brawl. EFE