K.L. v. Peru receives a Bronze Gavel at the 2009 Gender Justice Uncovered Awards
This week, K.L. v. Peru, the Center’s groundbreaking case establishing that denying access to legal abortion violates women’s most basic human rights, won a 2009 Gender Justice Uncovered Award for promoting gender equality.
The Center brought this case before the United Nations Human Rights Committee* in partnership with the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CLADEM) and the Counseling Center for the Defense of Women’s Rights (DEMUS).The awards were given out by Women’s Link Worldwide, an international human rights non-profit organization working to advance gender justice, and sought to identify the best and the worst judicial decisions related to gender justice in Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean. The Center’s case received a Bronze Gavel for its work. In fact, the Center contributed to all three cases that won a Gavel award either by directly bringing the case or through presenting a friend-of-the-court brief and oral intervention before the court. In the case that won the Silver Gavel, a CRR fellow acted as a legal advisor to one of the justices at the constitutional court in Colombia bringing her expertise to the case. Read the full press release here. An international jury, comprised of Juan Méndez (Argentina), President of the International Center for Transitional Justice and former member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Rosa Montero (Spain), journalist, writer and psychologist, and Kavita N. Ramdas (India), President and Executive Director of the Global Fund for Women, considered the 33 nominated cases.
What is this case about?K.L. was 17 years old when doctors told her that the fetus she was carrying was fatally impaired and would die soon after birth. Her country, Peru, allowed abortion under these circumstances, and she decided to seek one. But health officials refused to perform an abortion, despite the risks that such a pregnancy posed to her physical and mental health. K.L. was forced to carry to term and breastfeed for four days until the baby died. She then fell into a deep depression.
Why is this case so important?In 2005, the United Nations Human Rights Committee found that K.L.’s suffering was foreseeable and amounted to cruel, degrading, and inhumane treatment. Her case marked the first time that an international human rights body held a government accountable for failing to ensure access to legal abortion services. It also specifically established violations of the rights to be free from cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, the right to privacy, and special protection of the rights of a minor.
*The Human Rights Committee monitors countries’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.