A human rights committee within the United Nations has called the government of Peru to the carpet.
The country has a long history of public health officials denying women abortion services in cases where their health may be endangered—even though it is legal.
And now, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) has concluded that Peru has been falling short in its responsibilities to protect the rights of women. (CESCR monitors whether countries are meeting their human rights duties to protect individuals’ rights to work in favorable conditions, to an adequate standard of living, and to the highest attainable standards of health.)
The Center for Reproductive Rights, along with partners Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Promsex, and DEMUS submitted a shadow letter to CESCR, detailing a number of ways in which Peru has violated women’s human rights by failing to provide access to reproductive health services.
Specifically, the coalition pointed to two human rights cases in which two separate human rights bodies, the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, ruled against Peru.
The government has failed to implement the two committees’ recommendations in either case—including failing to allow women to obtain an abortion in cases of rape and sexual assault, or to establish national guidelines that guarantee that abortion services are available to a woman whose life or health is in danger.
During Peru’s review before CESCR, members took cues from the shadow letter, asking the government why it had not yet taken action. Peru failed to provide an adequate answer.
So in its final analysis, the committee affirmed the previous rulings by recommending that the government step up its efforts to guarantee the availability of reproductive health services, and stop criminalizing abortion in cases of sexual assault.
The Center strongly encourages Peru to once and for all meet its human rights obligations.