News & Politics

11-Year-Old Rape Victim Who Was Denied Abortion in Paraguay Could Find Justice in Human Rights Court

Advocates will be in attendance at a convening to be held tomorrow morning.

The story of a 11-year-old rape victim forced to carry a baby to term after her home country of Paraguay denied her an abortion made international headlines and sparked worldwide outrage this August. Now human rights advocates working on behalf of the girl called “Mainumby” (not her real name) have announced that a convening on the girl’s case will happen at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The meeting is scheduled for the morning of Wednesday, October 21.

Among the parties expected to attend are Maria Jose Eva of Amnesty International; Elba Núñez of CLADEM, aka the Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Defense of Women's Rights; and representatives of Equality Now, which fights for the human rights of girls and women around the world. Paraguayan officials were informed they needed to attend but officially declined. Officials from the advocacy organizations involved suggest they may send a representative unannounced at the last minute.

The case of Mainumby, who gave birth late this summer, has helped shine a light on the sexual abuse of young girls in Paraguay. Figures from the Paraguayan government show that 684 girls aged 10 to 14 gave birth last year. Most of those are believed to have been the victims of sexual abuse.

The World Health Organization has found that among young girls in Latin America, “the risk of maternal death is four times higher among adolescents younger than 16 years than among women in their twenties.”

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Kali Holloway is a senior writing fellow and the senior director of Make It Right, a project of the Independent Media Institute.