Paraguay’s foreign ministry says it doesn’t need to follow steps recommended by an international human rights committee that weighed in recently on how the country is handling the case of a 10 year old pregnant girl who was allegedly raped by her stepfather.
In a statement released Sunday, the foreign ministry said it rejects a list of demands from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights about what it should do to protect the life of the girl.
Paraguay already “has taken all the appropriate measures to avoid impunity for the wrongful act committed and to ensure the life and safety of this girl and the fetus,” the statement said.
Last week, the human rights commission, which is part of the Organization of American States, cited recent testimony from U.N. experts saying Paraguay’s government had “failed in its responsibility to protect a 10-year old sexual abuse survivor and provide her with critical and timely treatments, including a ‘safe and therapeutic’ abortion.”
At issue is Paraguayan law, which bans abortions except in cases where the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life. The Paraguayan Ministry of Health has said there’s no indication that the health of the girl is at risk.
But the human rights commission said that the girl, now 26 weeks pregnant, is facing a serious health situation with a significant possibility of complications. It criticized the Paraguayan government for not releasing enough information about the case and questioned whether the girl and her family were being provided enough information about the situation and the significant medical risks.
The mother of the minor has been imprisoned, charged with breaching her care of duty. Last month, police arrested the girl’s 42-year old stepfather, accusing him of raping of the child. He denied this accusations.
The case has drawn international attention and sparked debate on the largely taboo issue of incest in South America.
According to data from UNICEF, in Paraguay, every day two girls from the ages of 10 and 14 give birth to a baby that is the result of sexual abuse.
Paraguay’s Ministry of Health says that in 2014, over 680 minors from the ages of 10 to 14 reported a pregnancy. Paraguay has a population of 6.7 million.