María Mamerita Mestanza Chávez v. Peru (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights)


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Filing date: Petition filed June 15, 1999 by CLADEM, DEMUS and the Association for Human Rights (APRODEH)

Country/Region: , Peru

Plaintiff(s): Maria Mestanza

Center Attorney(s): , Luisa Cabal and Lilian Sepúlveda


Summary: In 1996, Peruvian public health officials threatened Maria Mamerita Mestanza Chávez with criminal sanctions if she did not undergo a sterilization surgery. Her partner ultimately agreed to the surgery. She was never examined prior to the procedure. After complications ensued, she was refused medical treatment and died at home nine days later. After domestic remedies failed, the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CLADEM) and two other Peruvian human rights group filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in 1999 and were later joined by the Center and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL). In 2002, the Peruvian government agreed in principle to settle the case. An agreement was signed in 2003 in which the government acknowledged international legal responsibility, agreed to compensate Mestanza’s surviving husband and children, and agreed to modify and implement recommendations made by Peru’s Human Rights Ombudsman concerning sterilization procedures in Peru’s government facilities.