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Paraguay Rape Victim, 10, Denied Abortion; UN Raps Government

Paraguay's government has failed to protect a 10-year-old rape victim who is being denied an abortion, United Nations human rights experts said.
People remain at the entrance of the Red Cross Hospital where a 10-year-old girl who was raped by her stepfather and is now five months pregnant is assisted in Asuncion on May 8, 2015.
People remain at the entrance of the Red Cross Hospital where a 10-year-old girl who was raped by her stepfather and is now five months pregnant is assisted in Asuncion on May 8, 2015. NORBERTO DUARTE / AFP - Getty Images
/ Source: Associated Press

ASUNCION, Paraguay — Paraguay's government has failed to protect a 10-year-old rape victim who is being denied an abortion, United Nations human rights experts said on Monday.

In a statement released in Geneva, the four experts said Paraguay has refused to provide treatment to save the life of the girl, who is five months pregnant, "including safe and therapeutic abortion in a timely manner."

The case has set off a national debate in Paraguay where abortion is banned in all cases — even rape — except when the mother's life is in danger.

"The Paraguayan authorities' decision results in grave violations of the rights to life, to health, and to the physical and mental integrity of the girl as well as her right to education, jeopardizing her economic and social opportunities," the experts said.

The World Health Organization says such child pregnancies can be dangerous, potentially leading to complications and death.

The girl's stepfather, who is accused of raping her, was arrested over the weekend and placed in isolation to prevent other inmates from attacking him. The girl's mother is being held at a female prison for neglecting to take care of her daughter.

Gilberto Benitez Zarate is accused of raping his 10-year-old stepdaughter.NORBERTO DUARTE / AFP - Getty Images

Amnesty International has asked authorities to allow an abortion to protect the girl.

Health Minister Antonio Barrios has responded that she is in good health at a Red Cross hospital and that her pregnancy, at five months, is too advanced.

However, a medical panel was created on Monday to assess her mental and physical health.

- The Associated Press