Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sexual Violence In Latin America And The Caribbean Takes Center Stage At The Inter-American Commission On Human Rights

Center for Reproductive Rights (Oct. 26, 2017): Sexual Violence In Latin America And The Caribbean Takes Center Stage At The Inter-American Commission On Human Rights

In late October advocates for human rights, reproductive rights, and child and adolescent rights gathered together in Uruguay to testify "on the failure of governments to condemn sexual violence and provide access to justice for adolescents and girls."

The Commission was presented with a declaration signed by over 100 organizations calling for the Commission to hold countries accountable for having policies which provide justice for sexual violence survivors, and policies that would ensure the sexual and reproductive rights of women.

"The declaration specifically calls for the elimination of legal and administrative barriers to sexual and reproductive health services and the development of specific protocols to provide redress for victims of sexual violence, including reparation."

Catalina Martínez Coral, the regional director for Latin America & the Caribbean at the Center for Reproductive Rights, stated

“Too many young girls and women who experience sexual violence are oppressed, stigmatized and denied access to justice.

“Survivors of sexual violence should never feel alone or silenced and it’s time for states to provide channels for women and girls to get the medical services and support services they need without fear.

“The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights must call on states to take meaningful action to prevent sexual violence and prioritize reproductive health and rights.”

During the hearing video testimony was shown. The videos displayed the "harsh reality" of being a survivor of sexual violence and how being a survivor often leads to further discrimination and violence. This in combination with the lack of reproductive health care leads to unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and higher risk of STIs. 

Currently, litigation is pending with the Commission for a case filed in 2015 on behalf of an Ecuadorian teenager who was sexually assaulted by her school's vice-principal and later committed suicide after learning she was pregnant.

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