PANAMA CITY : Pope says killing of women has become 'plague' in Latin America. Pope urged leaders to shun corruption and tackle gun violence, drug trafficking and the killing of women, which he said had become 'plague' in his native continent.

Just over a month ago, in a meetings with bishops from Central America,

Pope Francis said many young people found themselves ''boxed in'' and lacking opportunities, amid highly conflictual situation with no quick solution: domestic violence, the killing of women    -our continent is experiencing in this regard  -armed gangs, and criminals, drug trafficking...........

At least 2,795 women were victims of femicide in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2017, according to government data provided to the  UN's Latin American economic commission, ECLAC.

In EL Salvador this phenomenon is particularly acute, with a rate of  10.2 femicides per 100,000  women in 2017, ECLAC said.

The Pope said families had been ''broken by an economic system that did not prioritize persons and the common good but made ''speculation'' its paradise.

Last year, a Transparency International  report on corruption in Latin America showed that more than  half of people surveyed in 20 countries believed  that their government was failing to address corruption and one in three said they had they had to pay a bribe for public services.

Pope Francis praised those  in the  Latin American Church, who like assassinated Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, had tried to keep the  truth alive, ''in the face of injustice, the spread of poverty, and the abuse of power''.

Romero, a champion of the poor, became a human rights icon in Latin America was killed by a right-wing  death squad in 1980, while he was saying Mass. He was made a  saint last year. [Agencies]


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