Sociology Index

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Julieta Castellanos

Julieta Castellanos (born 8 January 1954) is a Honduran sociologist and the dean of the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) since 2009. Castellanos is known for campaigning against violence in Honduras, focusing on both drug cartels and police corruption. She has advocated for both judicial and police reform. Castellanos founded the Observatorio de la Violencia (Violence Observatory) at UNAH in 2004, a center that analyzes crime statistics in Honduras. She was also a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was tasked with clarifying the facts related to the 2009 coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

In 2013, the US State Department awarded Castellanos the International Women of Courage Award, presented by US secretary of state John Kerry and first lady Michelle Obama. In 2012, she received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Foundation at the Institute HondureƱo de Cultura Interamericana, awarded by US ambassador Lisa Kubiske.

Castellanos was a strong advocate for police reform and against violent crime in Honduras. She pushed for an international commission to oversee a purge of the police. The National Congress of Honduras approved the idea. Castellanos also spoke about gun politics in Honduras. She asked the Honduran armed forces to destroy illegal guns, including AK-47s.

In October 2011, the Honduran national police kidnapped and killed Castellanos' 22-year-old son. The incident called attention to the degree of corruption within the Honduran police. Castellanos called for an end to foreign aid for the Honduran police and military, demanding that they "stop feeding the beast."