Paraguay: Protect the rights of pre-teen rape victim and give her justice
20 March 2017 Update: You did it! Thanks to your support, the Government of Paraguay participated in the Working Meeting on 17 March at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Unlike the first meeting, where Paraguay failed to appear, this time the government attended in force represented by Paraguay’s Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS). Along with our partner CLADEM, we used this critical opportunity to press Paraguay on its obligations to Mainumby and her family under the June 2015 Precautionary Measures, as well as regional and international human rights standards. We provided evidence on Mainumby's continued struggle to provide for herself and her baby and successfully kept the Precautionary Measures open despite pressure to close them.
To stop the rampant sexual abuse and forced child pregnancy in the country, we proposed that the Commission visit Paraguay and host a Working Meeting with high-level stakeholders, including representatives from the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare, the National Secretariat for Children and Adolescents and the Ministry for Women. Recommendations on how the State should prevent, punish and eradicate sexual violence against girls would be discussed during the visit, tentatively scheduled for May 2017. We will also be exploring law firm partners to determine whether to pursue a case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Thank you again for taking action. We will continue to work with the Commission to hold Paraguay accountable to the promises it made to Mainumby and to its broader obligations to every girl in Paraguay!
Resource: CLADEM Report - GIRL MOTHERS: Forced child pregnancy and motherhood in Latin America and the Caribbean
The life of 10-year-old “Mainumby,” a Paraguayan girl who became pregnant after repeated sexual abuse, allegedly by her stepfather, is in extreme danger. As a still developing child, Mainumby, who is currently 23 weeks pregnant, has been extremely ill throughout and is seriously undernourished and underweight, the pregnancy presents a serious threat to her life. When the pregnancy was finally identified at 21 weeks – following two misdiagnoses – her mother requested an abortion after receiving medical advice that her daughter’s life may be at risk if she carries the child to term. However, though Paraguayan law permits abortions when a woman or girls’ life is at risk, the request was denied and the mother was subsequently arrested and charged with breaching her duty of care! Mainumby has since been separated from her mother and family, further damaging her current health status.
Sadly, Mainumby’s case is not an isolated incident. According to our partner, Comité de América Latina y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de las Mujeres (CLADEM), Paraguay has one of the highest rates of pregnancy among adolescents aged 10-14 years in Latin America. Sexual violence, particularly against girls, is also widespread.
Mainumby needs your help! Please call on the government to save her life.
With each day that passes, Mainumby’s life is in greater danger. Please join Equality Now and CLADEM in calling on Paraguay to ensure that she receives all necessary medical treatment, that the rapist is investigated and prosecuted, and that she is reunited with her mother. Also urge the Paraguayan government to put proper measures in place to ensure quick and effective responses to future cases of sexual abuse, and to provide medical treatment, including abortions, for girls and women who have experienced sexual abuse.
Letters will be sent in Spanish. View the English translation here.