Paraguay: Protect the rights of pre-teen rape victim and give her justice

Learn more about sexual violence, pregnancy and forced motherhood in Paraguay.

1 March 2017 Update: Nearly two years after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ (IACHR) called on Paraguay to take  emergency action (“Precautionary Measures”) in Mainumby’s case, and more than six months since Commissioner Paulo Vannuchi met with our partner in Paraguay, the government refuses to live up to its obligations to the now 12-year-old mother. Though she has returned to school she is being re-victimized by her peers and school administrators and the $50 USD bimonthly stipend from the government is completely inadequate to meet her or her baby’s basic needs. The sum is even more insufficient after the State discontinued the transportation service it provided for her health care appointments.

In February 2017, Equality Now and CLADEM participated in a civil society consultation with the Commission to discuss strategies and to elevate the issue of sexual violence against girls and forced child pregnancy. The final strategic plan will reflect the issues Commission feels are most urgent and the financial resources it will dedicate to address them. In March, Equality Now and CLADEM will also participate in a closed-door IACHR Working Meeting on Mainumby's case during its ‘period of sessions.’ For one week, Commissioners hear directly from civil society about the state of human rights in the Americas --representing an important opportunity for advocacy on serious human rights violations and for holding governments to account. We plan to push again for the government of Paraguay to implement the June 2015 Precautionary Measures.

At our last meeting, Paraguay failed to participate. They can’t be allowed to get away with that again. Help renew the call!

Without the government's participation we can neither trust that they will implement the Precautionary Measures nor that the government is working to address the pervasive sexual violence and forced pregnancies of girl. Please continue to fight for Mainumby and to put an end to sexual violence against girls in the Americas!  

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.

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