UN to Ecuador: Stop Violence against Girls and Reduce Maternal Deaths
A key United Nations human rights body, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee), is urging Ecuador to curb sexual violence against girls in schools. The issue was highlighted by a shadow letter from the Center. According to local organizations, between 22% and 63% of Ecuadorian girls report sexual abuse in school, a problem that has become systemic after years of receiving scant attention from the government. Most troubling, the majority of cases go unreported. The CEDAW Committee, which reviewed Ecuador’s compliance with its treaty obligations in November 2008, expressed concern “at the high level of sexual abuse and harassment against girls in schools, as well as expulsion or rejection because of pregnancy and violence.” The CEDAW Committee urged the government to strengthen its efforts to “provide an environment free from discrimination and violence” and to establish effective reporting and accountability mechanisms.
Maternal Mortality in Ecuador Also a Concern
The CEDAW Committee also expressed serious concern about the high rate of maternal mortality and how unsafe abortions have contributed to these deaths. It recommended that Ecuador ensure access to quality maternal healthcare services and improve access to contraception and family planning services, especially for adolescents and indigenous women.