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Peru. A 13-year-old girl who was raped by her father was denied an abortion. UN: The authorities violated the rights of the girl

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A teenage girl in Peru was repeatedly raped by her own father, and when she became pregnant at 13, she was denied an abortion. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child found last week that the country’s authorities had violated the girl’s rights by not providing her with an abortion.

About the case of the Peruvian teenager, he wrote, among others, British Guardian. Camila (name changed) is an indigenous resident of the Huanipaca Department in the Apurímac Region of Peru. Since she was 9 years old, she was regularly raped by her father, and in 2017, at the age of 13, she became pregnant.

In 2020, the feminist NGO Promsex reported Camila’s case to UN. On June 13 this year, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) found that the Peruvian authorities violated her right to health and life by not providing the teenager with information or access to a legal and safe abortion.

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The 13-year-old girl was not given the possibility to terminate her pregnancy

According to a CRC press release, when Camila became pregnant, a relative took her to a hospital in the city of Abancay, where she cried to the doctors that she did not want to give birth to her father’s child or be pregnant. She was to repeat this during later medical visits, and her mental health continued to deteriorate. However, the medical staff of the facility did not inform her about her right to a therapeutic abortion in such a situation. Abortion is a crime in Peru, but is allowed when a woman’s life is in danger or there is a serious and lasting risk to her health.

Using the help of the Promsex organization, Camila and her mother applied to the hospital for a legal abortion and submitted a separate application to the prosecutor’s office dealing with her rape for voluntary termination of pregnancy. However, the teenager did not receive a response to any of the requests.

According to the CRC, hospital staff even insisted that the 13-year-old regularly attend prenatal check-ups, and when she did not show up, doctors came to her house themselves. Sometimes even policemen accompanied them to force the child to continue with the pregnancy. As highlighted in the communiqué, this resulted in stigmatization and harassment of the girl by her family and the local community, and forced her to drop out of school and leave her village.

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Peru violated the rights of a 13-year-old girl

Camila eventually suffered a miscarriage, which in turn prompted the prosecution to accuse her of having had an abortion, although there was no evidence of this. The CRC reports that the prosecutor’s office organized inspections of the alleged crime scene and called the girl to testify repeatedly. “The same prosecutor who investigated her father’s rape accused her of deliberately aborting her pregnancy … which further affected her mental health,” said Rossina Guerrero of Promsex, quoted by the Guardian.

According to the CRC, the lack of information about and access to abortion services exposed Camila to a real, personal and foreseeable risk to her life and health. As noted, the fact that the perpetrator of the rape was her father also had detrimental consequences for the girl’s mental health. It was pointed out that she had been discriminated against on the grounds of age, gender, ethnicity and social status, as her appeals for an abortion were ignored. The girl was denied access to a service essential to her health and punished for not adhering to gender stereotypes about her reproductive role, it added.

The number of teenagers giving birth to children is increasing

The CRC appealed to the Peruvian authorities to, among others, legalizing abortion in all cases where a child becomes pregnant, ensuring access to safe abortion procedures for girls, especially in situations where their health, life, rape or incest is at risk, and changing the regulations governing access to therapeutic abortion.

According to the data of the UN Population Fund, in Peru in 2021-2022, 14 percent. the number of girls aged 10-14 who gave birth to children increased. In turn, information from the Peruvian ombudsman indicates that only from January to April this year, rescue centers for women examined more than 2.3 thousand. cases of rape of girls and teenagers.

Main photo source: SL-Photography / Shutterstock

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