On November 30, the Center, with Brazilian partner Advocaci, filed Alyne da Silva Pimentel v. Brazil, the first maternal mortality case to be brought before the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Alyne, a 28-year-old Afro-Brazilian woman, died of complications resulting from pregnancy after her local health center misdiagnosed her symptoms and delayed providing her with emergency care. Brazil’s maternal mortality rates are disproportionately high for a country of its economic status, and the chances of dying in pregnancy and childbirth are greatest among indigenous, low-income, and Afro-descendant women such as Alyne. The Center’s petition argues that Brazil’s government violated Alyne’s rights to life, health, and legal redress, all of which are guaranteed both by Brazil’s constitution and international human rights treaties, including CEDAW.
“Alyne’s story epitomizes Brazil’s violation of women’s human rights and failure to prevent women from dying of causes that, by the government’s own admission, are avoidable,” said Lilian Sepúlveda, the Center’s Legal Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean. “We filed this case to demand that Brazil make the necessary reforms to its public health system-and save thousands of women’s lives.”