REPORT No. 110/18
CASE 12,678
MERITS
PAOLA DEL ROSARIO GUZMÁN ALBARRACÍN AND RELATIVES
ECUADOR
OCTOBER 5, 2018

I.

SUMMARY

1.
On October 2, 2006, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter the “InterAmerican Commission,” “the Commission,” or “the IACHR”) received a petition submitted by the Center for
Reproductive Rights and the Centro Ecuatoriano para la Promoción y Acción de la Mujer (CEPAM-Guayaquil)
(hereinafter “the petitioner”) alleging that the Republic of Ecuador (hereinafter “the Ecuadorian State,” “the
State,” or “Ecuador”) was internationally responsible to the detriment of Paola del Rosario Guzmán Albarracín
(hereinafter “Paola”).
2.
The Commission approved Admissibility Report 76/08 on October 17, 2008.1 The processing
from the filing of the petition to the decision on admissibility can be found described therein. On February 20,
2009, the Commission notified the parties of the report and made itself available to help them reach a friendly
settlement. 2 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 On October
19, 2015, the IACHR held a hearing on the merits of the case.
3.
The petitioner alleged that the State is responsible for the harassment, sexual abuse, and lack
of medical attention that took the life of Paola at the age of 16. It stated that the assistant principal of the public
institution where Paola was studying took advantage of his position of authority to sexually harass her,
culminating in a forced sexual encounter that resulted in a pregnancy. It stated that the institution did not
respond properly to her suicide attempt, leading to Paola’s death. It alleged that the inefficiency of the judicial
and administrative system have allowed the facts to remain in impunity.
4.
For its part, the State indicated that at the time of the facts, a myriad of laws and public policies
were in place that were designed to protect the rights of girls and women, in compliance with international
standards. It also argued that the case involves a relationship between private parties for which the State has
no responsibility, adding that State authorities have responded appropriately under the law to the report of
the facts.
5.
Based on the considerations of fact and of law, the Commission concluded that the State of
Ecuador is responsible for the violation of articles 4(1) (right to life), 5(1) (humane treatment), 11 (privacy),
19 (rights of the child), 24 (equal protection); 26 (work and health) of the American Convention on Human
Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention” or "the Convention”), in conjunction with the obligations
established in Article 1(1) of the same instrument. Likewise, the State is responsible for violating Article 13 of
the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights “Protocol of San Salvador”; all of the above to the detriment of Paola del Rosario Guzmán
IACHR. Report No. 76/08. Petition 1055-06. Admissibility. Paola del Rosario Guzmán Albarracín. Ecuador. October 17, 2008.
On June 7, 2010, the petitioner informed the Commission of its decision to withdraw from the friendly settlement process it had informally
begun with the State in May 2009. In May 2011, the petitioner decided to reopen the possibility of reaching an agreement with the State of
Ecuador. On December 12, 2013, the petitioner informed the Commission of its decision to permanently withdraw from the friendly
settlement process. On January 7, 2014, the Commission informed the parties of its decision to move forward with the merits of the case.
3 In addition to the communications of the parties, on August 9, 2015, an amicus curiae brief was received from the Universidad San
Francisco in Quito. The State alleged that such briefs were not provided for under the Rules of Procedure, and that rather than an opinion,
the document was an attempt to position the university as an interested third party in the dispute. The Commission first noted that there
was no such figure as an “interested third party” in the inter-American process. The parties before the IACHR are the petitioner and the
State. It had been the IACHR’s practice to consider other types of information received in the framework of the case as amicus curiae briefs,
thus providing the parties with an opportunity to make comments on their content, as happened in this case. Second, the IACHR observes
that the brief itself from the university states it is strictly an amicus curiae brief, and thus, in keeping with its practice, it will be considered
and weighed as such.
1
2

Select target paragraph3