Social Issues

Over 3,000 girls under 14 give birth every year in Ecuador

By Daniela Brik

Quito, Aug 17 (EFE).- Ecuador’s new Human Rights Secretary, Bernarda Ordóñez, has said that rates of violence in the country are “shocking”, especially violence against children, and has highlighted a campaign aimed at preventing underage pregnancies in the Andean country.

“More than 3,000 girls under the age of 14 become mothers every year in Ecuador and it is due to rape,” the 30-year-old lawyer said in an interview with Efe.

On Friday, Ecuador commemorated for the first time the official day of the Fight Against Sexual Violence in the Classrooms in Ecuador, a measure ordered by the state in a ruling issued by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of Paola Guzman.

Guzman, 16, committed suicide in 2002 when she became pregnant after she was raped by a teacher at school.

“Since the 1990s, international organizations have already shown us the lack of public policies” in this regard, said the expert in human rights.

In a December report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that sexual and gender-based violence is an “endemic” problem in Ecuador and has a long history in the country’s educational system.

Ordonez believes that the Paola Guzman case revealed the “shortcomings” that Ecuador has been carrying in matters of sexual and reproductive education, or when establishing protocols, roadmaps and action plans to prevent violence at schools.

“The rates of violence are very high,” she says.

Seven out of 10 people have experienced some type of violence and 6 out of 10 students have gone through violent situations, Ordonez explains.

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