REPORT No. 153/18
CASE 13.069
MERITS
MANUELA
EL SALVADOR
DECEMBER 7, 2018

I.

SUMMARY

1.
On March 21, 2012, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the InterAmerican Commission," "the Commission," or "the IACHR") received a petition presented by the Centro de
Derechos Reproductivos, la Colectiva de Mujeres para el Desarrollo Local, and the Agrupación Ciudadana por
la Despenalización del Aborto Terapéutico, Ético y Eugenésico (hereinafter "the petitioner") alleging that the
Republic of El Salvador (hereinafter "the Salvadoran State," "the State," or "El Salvador") was internationally
responsible to the detriment of Manuela and Family.1
2.
The Commission approved admissibility report number 29/17 on March 18, 2017.2 On March
31, 2017, the Commission notified the parties of the report and made itself available to help them reach a
friendly settlement. The parties were given the time provided for in the Rules of Procedure to submit additional
comments on the merits. All the information received was duly transferred between the parties.
3.
The petitioner argued that the alleged victim suffered a fall that caused a miscarriage, which
led to her being criminally tried and convicted for the crime of aggravated homicide. It stated that the State
failed to provide her with essential health care services, and that in the framework of the criminal proceeding,
a series of violations of due process were committed. It stated that the case of Manuela, who died while she was
deprived of liberty, is part of a structural situation of criminal persecution of women who suffer obstetric
emergencies, which is the result of the absolute ban on abortion in El Salvador.
4.
The State said the alleged victim was provided with adequate medical care, and that in the
framework of the criminal proceeding against her, all due process guarantees were respected. It said that since
2009, a series of public policies have been developed targeting poverty and access to reproductive health.
5.
Based on the considerations of fact and of law, the Inter-American Commission concluded that
the State is responsible for the violation of articles 4.1 (right to life), 7(1), 7(2), and 7(3) (personal liberty);
8(1), 8.2, 8(2)(c), 8(2)(e), and 8(2)(h) (fair trial); 11(2), 11(3) (privacy); 24 (equal protection), 25(1) (judicial
protection); and 26 (right to health) in conjunction with the obligations established in articles 1(1) and 2 of the
American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention” or "the Convention”); as well
as Article 7(b) of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence
against Women (hereinafter “the Convention of Belém do Pará.”) The Commission made the corresponding
recommendations.
II.
A.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
Petitioner

6.
The petitioner stated that this case takes place within the structural context of criminal
persecution of women who suffer obstetric emergencies, which is the result of the absolute ban on abortion in
El Salvador.
7.
It stated that the alleged victim was a young, illiterate woman from the Municipio of
Cacaopera, a very poor area of El Salvador, and that in 2007, she began to develop painful symptoms of
lymphatic cancer. It stated that between August 2006 and 2008, she went to the Cacaopera Health Clinic in the
The petitioner organizations asked that the name of the alleged victim be kept confidential and asked that she be identified by the name
"Manuela." They also asked that the identity of the alleged victim’s relatives be kept confidential, as well as her medical information.
2 IACHR. Report No. 29/17. Case 13.069. Manuela and Family. El Salvador. March 18, 2017. In the report, the IACHR declared the petition
admissible with regard to articles 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 13, 17, 24, 25, and 26, in conjunction with articles 1(1) and 2 of the American Convention;
1, 6, and 8 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture; and 7 of the Convention of Belém do Pará.
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