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Government Should Prioritize Prevention, Eradication, and Services for Survivors

On August 14, Ecuador commemorated the country’s first national day against sexual violence in schools. A year ago, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found Ecuador responsible for the violations of Paola Guzmán Albarracín’s rights. Paola, who…
Judges at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights hear the case Paola Guzmán Albarracín’s mother brought against Ecuador in San José, Costa Rica on January 28, 2020.
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(Washington, D.C., July 14, 2021) – Ecuador’s laws criminalizing abortion violate the rights and risk the lives and health of women and girls, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 128-page report, “‘Why Do They Want to Make Me Suffer…
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Greatest Harm for Indigenous, Afro-Descendent People Living in Poverty

(Washington, D.C.) – Ecuador’s laws criminalizing abortion violate the rights and risk the lives and health of women and girls, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 128-page report, “‘Why Do They Want to Make Me Suffer Again?’…
Feminist activists and pro-choice groups witness a debate at Ecuador’s National Assembly on Criminal Code reform, in which there was a possibility that legislators would approve the decriminalization of abortion in cases involving rape, in Quito, Ecuador, on January 3, 2019.
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Investigations, Justice, Reparations Needed

(New York) – Thousands of children and adolescents have suffered school-related sexual violence in Ecuador since 2014, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. While Ecuador has taken important steps to tackle the issue and expedite justice…
Evelyn Yucailla, 23, a survivor of school-related sexual violence and activist, holds a local newspaper from the city of Ambato, Ecuador. The frontpage headline reads: “Young teacher is guilty.”
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Summary This is the pain that I have – I’m not only fighting against my child’s abuser, and his lawyer… No, this is a constant fight against the whole education system… the prosecutor… it’s a constant fight. They [school and prosecutor’s office]…
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UN Review Should Focus on Increased Protection Against Violence, Bias

(Beirut) – Lebanese authorities are falling short of their international legal obligations to protect women and girls from violence and end discrimination against them, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch has submitted a report to the…
Women shout slogans and wave the Lebanese flag during a demonstration in down town Beirut.
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Summary I would like you to pass on our voice. It’s not a voice. It’s a cry of pain. We have been here in Lebanon because they not only raped us, they also raped our land and dignity. —Male survivor of conflict-related sexual violence in Syria,…
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Survivors in Lebanon Lack Needed Services

(Beirut) – Syrian state and non-state actors have subjected men, boys, transgender women, and nonbinary people to sexual violence during the Syrian conflict, resulting in severe physical and mental health consequences which are compounded by a lack of…
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Women Tell Their Stories

Abortion in all instances, including rape, is illegal in Honduras. Any woman who has an abortion, and anyone found to have helped her, can be charged with a crime and imprisoned. For that reason, La Línea (“The Line”) was a rare resource in…
Lorena (a pseudonym) was unaware she was pregnant when she went to a hospital in intense pain two years ago. Doctors suspected she had attempted an abortion and called the police. She was taken from the hospital in handcuffs and is now facing charges.
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Cristina Alvarado is a social worker and part of the national coordination team of Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz “Visitación Padilla” (Movement of Women for Peace “Visitacion Padilla”).
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Survivors and Advocates Seek Help from UN Human Rights Committee

Norma* (*indicates a pseudonym) was 12 when her father began raping her. She became pregnant shortly thereafter. Though abortion is legal in Ecuador when a woman or girl’s life or health is in danger, no one told her this. She gave birth despite…
#NiñasNoMadres
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Assembly Should Ease Abortion Laws

(Washington, DC) – Ecuador’s National Assembly should decriminalize abortion for survivors of rape, Human Rights Watch said today ahead of a planned presentation to the Assembly’s Justice Commission via Skype. José Miguel Vivanco,…
A green handkerchief with the hashtags #DéjameDecidir (let me decide) and #AbortoPorViolación (abortion in cases of rape) has become emblematic of the campaign for the decriminalization of abortion in Ecuador.
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Rape-marriage exoneration laws are relics of the colonial past. It's time to leave them there.

In recent weeks, the Tunisian, Jordanian, and Lebanese parliaments have repealed provisions in their penal codes that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Provisions like these, largely colonial-era relics, remain on the books…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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Lawmakers Set to Discuss Loosening Notoriously Strict Anti-Abortion Law

This week, lawmakers in Honduras will have the chance to allow some women access to abortion, reversing restrictions first imposed more than 30 years ago. Under the current law, terminating a pregnancy is illegal and carries a heavy prison sentence,…
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Prevent Rapists From Escaping Punishment by Marrying Victims

(Beirut) – Lebanon’s parliament should repeal a penal code provision that allows rapists to escape prosecution by marrying their victims, Human Rights Watch said today. Parliament should also amend other provisions to adequately criminalize sexual assault…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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Human Rights Watch is a nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization made up of roughly 400 staff members around the globe. Its staff consists of human rights professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse…
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Improve Enforcement; Provide Support for Victims

(Beirut) – Weaknesses and a lack of coordination in the Lebanese government’s response to sex trafficking is putting women and girls at risk, Human Rights Watch said today, on the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. The government should enforce its…
A Syrian woman, a victim of sex trafficking, finds refuge at a shelter in an undisclosed location in Lebanon.