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El Salvador must not reject UN call to end abortion ban

    March 18, 2015

    El Salvador’s government must take the opportunity to reform its draconian abortion law, said Amnesty International today as the country responds to a series of recommendations, mostly relating to abortion and gender discrimination, during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

    "El Salvador has one of the most draconian abortion laws in the world, criminalizing abortion on all grounds, even when a woman or girl’s life or health is in danger and even in cases of rape and incest. This restrictive law has put women and girls at the brink of death,” said Amnesty International Americas Director Erika Guevara Rosas.

    “El Salvador is expected to accept its duty to provide access to sexual health services and contraception, as recommended by states at the UN. We would welcome that step forward. But picking and choosing which recommendations to follow may leave in place a total ban on abortion. Dozens of women are in jail for pregnancy-related complications, some of them facing up to 40 years behind bars.”

    Speaking at the UPR, Amnesty International highlighted the findings of its recent report: On the brink of death: Violence against women and the abortion ban in El Salvador.  El Salvador’s ban on abortion denies woman and girls their human rights and creates an environment of suspicion and discrimination against women and girls, Amnesty International said in its statement at the UN. It also referenced international human rights law, that obliges El Salvador to prevent discrimination and violence against women and girls.


    The Universal Periodic Review, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, is a state-driven process that reviews the fulfilment of the human rights obligations and commitments of all 193 UN Member States.

    Each state’s compliance with international human rights law is reviewed every four and a half years. It is a cooperative mechanism, based on objective and reliable information, and equal treatment of all States. It is complementary to the work of the UN treaty bodies.  

    In March 2014, Amnesty International launched a global campaign to protect people's right to make decisions about their health, body, sexuality and reproduction without fear of discrimination and without state control or coercion. The My Body My Rights campaign urges governments to decriminalize abortion.

    For more information please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332