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12.10.08 - In a brief filed before the CEDAW Committee, the Center asks the Committee to issue a decision requiring Brazil to compensate Alyne da Silva Pimentel’s surviving family, including her 9-year-old daughter, and prioritize the reduction of maternal mortality, including by training providers, establishing and enforcing protocols, and improving care in vulnerable communities.
Filing date: 11/30/07
Plaintiff(s): Family of Alyne da Silva Pimentel
Center Attorney(s): Luisa Cabal, Lilian Sepúlveda, Mónica Arango Olaya
Partners: Citizens’ Advocacy for Human Rights (ADVOCACI), based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Summary: Alyne, a 28-year-old Afro-Brazilian woman, died of complications resulting from pregnancy after her local health center misdiagnosed her symptoms and delayed providing her with emergency care. Brazil's maternal mortality rates are disproportionately high for a country of its economic status, and the chances of dying in pregnancy and childbirth are greatest among indigenous, low-income, and Afro-descendant women such as Alyne.
On November 30, 2007, the Center, with Brazilian partner Advocaci, filed Alyne da Silva Pimentel v. Brazil, the first maternal mortality case to be brought before the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The Center's petition argues that Brazil's government violated Alyne's rights to life, health, and legal redress, all of which are guaranteed both by Brazil's constitution and international human rights treaties, including CEDAW.
"Alyne's story epitomizes Brazil's violation of women's human rights and failure to prevent women from dying of causes that, by the government's own admission, are avoidable," said Lilian Sepúlveda, the Center's Legal Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean. "We filed this case to demand that Brazil make the necessary reforms to its public health system—and save thousands of women's lives."