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Paraguay - Sixth periodic report of States parties [2010] UNCEDAWSPR 17; CEDAW/C/PAR/6 (12 August 2010)

United Nations
Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women
Distr.: General
12 August 2010
Original: Spanish

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination

against Women

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Sixth periodic report of States parties



Paragraphs Page

I. Introduction 1–11 3

II. Follow-up to the Committee’s concluding observations of 2005 12–127 5

A. Paragraph 17 of the concluding observations 12–18 5

B. Paragraph 18 19–26 6

C. Paragraph 19 27 8

D. Paragraphs 20 and 21 28–35 8

E. Paragraphs 22 and 23 36–38 10

F. Paragraph 24 39–42 10

G. Paragraph 25 43–56 11

H. Paragraphs 26 and 27 57 14

I. Paragraph 28 58–62 14

J. Paragraph 29 63–69 15

K. Paragraph 30 70–80 16

L. Paragraph 31 81–82 17

M. Paragraph 32 83–91 17

N. Paragraph 33 92–98 19

O. Paragraph 34 99–103 20

P. Paragraph 35 104–108 20

Q. Paragraph 36 109–117 21

R. Paragraph 38 118–123 22

S. Paragraph 39 124–125 23

T. Paragraph 40 126 24

U. Paragraph 42 127 25

III. Specific report on implementation of the Convention 128–153 25

A. Part I of the Convention 129–133 25

B. Part II of the Convention 134–146 26

C. Part III of the Convention 147–151 30

D. Part IV of the Convention 152–153 31

I. Introduction

1. Paraguay has ratified the main international human rights instruments and, under the Constitution in force, accords them higher rank than the laws enacted by the legislature and other lesser norms. During the past year, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was ratified. The concluding observations addressed to Paraguay by the treaty bodies following consideration of its reports are consistent in the matter of the exercise of women’s rights. In January 2010 the Republic of Paraguay submitted a report on its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

2. In compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, in 2005 three periodic reports by Paraguay (third and fourth combined – CEDAW/C/PAR/3-4; and fifth – CEDAW/C/PAR/5 and Corr.1) were submitted to the committee of experts, which requested Paraguay to refer to the concluding observations in its next report. The 2009 updated guidelines for the preparation of initial and periodic reports have been received by the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

3. The sixth periodic report on Paraguay’s compliance with the Convention is submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women under article 18 of that instrument. The drafting of the report was coordinated by the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic and representatives of public institutions forming part of the Inter-Agency Board for follow-up on implementation of the Convention. The report comprises an introduction and two sections: the first section responds to the concluding observations and recommendations made by the Committee in 2005, and some of the comments include clarifications which are regarded as important for a better understanding of the country’s legal context; the second contains additional information on the implementation of the Convention between 2005 and early 2010.

4. The significant advances made between 2005 and 2010 mainly involve gender mainstreaming in State institutions, which is necessary for the formulation and implementation of public policies under international treaties and national laws. Paraguay has achieved a cross-cutting gender approach at important levels of the State. Women’s rights are promoted in many ways in the capital and the interior of the country, new gender areas have been created and many of the existing ones have been strengthened, budgetary resources have been allotted and political statements refer to the need to incorporate women’s interests and expectations. The key dates in the calendar for the gender agenda are used to assess progress and challenges.

5. Action on domestic violence, which was first addressed by women’s movements and the Secretariat for Women as a vital factor in gender policies, is establishing itself in the national agenda as State policy, with responsibilities gradually being assumed and action programmes devised by the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare, the Ministry of the Interior, the National Police and Public Prosecutor’s Office. The statistical data given by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in its 2009 management report showed domestic violence to be the third most common punishable act, after cattle-rustling and theft; 72 per cent of direct victims at the Victims Care Centre were women, and most admissions involved sexual abuse against children. The fight against trafficking in persons has been institutionalized, through public action to establish identification networks and provide for protection, sentencing of culprits and rehabilitation of victims.

6. There has been an improvement in the sexual and reproductive health of women, while new scourges such as the feminization of HIV/AIDS are being tackled. The maternal mortality rate per 100,000 live births declined from 128 in 2005 to 118 in 2008 (preliminary data), and although this figure is still high, it places the country in a statistical average and emphasizes its progress. However, looking at the data by area, there were 103 maternity-related deaths for every 100,000 live births in urban areas in 2007, while the corresponding figure for rural areas was 179 deaths. The figures improve according to the level of hospital births and prevalence of the use of modern contraceptive methods. There has been an alarming increase in HIV/AIDS among women, and the data have led the Secretariat for Women to address this trend by means of information and prevention efforts and through an agenda coordinated with the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare and the HIV/AIDS care programmes.

7. The participation of women in the world of work has grown. According to the 2008 household survey, 48.3 per cent of women are in employment, as against 75.9 per cent of men. Of women employed, 71.7 per cent are in the tertiary sector, and although 52 per cent of them have insurance coverage, working conditions have not improved and participation in the various sectors is increasing only slightly, with the same trends and the gap between men and women being maintained. There are still sectors from which women are absent, such as construction and private security.

8. Unemployment rates have declined, although the figures are still relatively more unfavourable for women. An analysis of open unemployment by gender shows that women outnumber men by 7.3 per cent to 4.7 per cent. Open unemployment particularly affects youths (15 to 24-year-olds) and especially females. Among young people, 8.9 per cent of boys are in search of employment, and 16.6 per cent of girls. Underemployment rates continue to be higher for women: 26.4 per cent, as against 21.7 per cent. Statistically, in order to obtain employment in Paraguay, a woman would have to be under 30 and have dependent children; care duties are an obstacle. Remunerated domestic employment has been the subject of much discussion in a legal framework unsuited to substantive equality. In 2009, the Social Security Institute (IPS) expanded medical insurance coverage for workers in the domestic sector: between September 2009 (base month) and February 2010 a further 2,500 women joined the insurance scheme. It is estimated that, in 2010, 30,000 persons will covered, most of them women. Migration is motivated mainly by the search for employment, and the greatest concentrations of migrants are to be found in the departments that are most urbanized.

9. According to the latest poverty assessment data of the Directorate-General for Statistics, Surveys and Censuses, the poverty rate was 41.3 per cent in 2005 and 37.9 per cent in 2008. Fifty per cent of women are living in poverty, and of these 19.6 per cent are in extreme poverty and are mostly rural heads of family with a large number of children.

10. The participation of women in public life is progressing, but their level of participation in political life is minimal and the various efforts made have not been sufficient. Fourteen per cent of seats in the national Parliament are held by women, while in the Departmental Boards they do not reach the 20 per cent stipulated in the Electoral Code. Women in the interior of the country, rural women, indigenous women, young women and urban women are much better organized and participate actively in public life, which enables them to put forward their agenda.

11. It should be noted that the reporting period saw a very significant change in Paraguay’s political history: the recent elections in 2008 resulted in the ousting of the party that had traditionally held office, which reinforced the democratic process in the alternation of power. This situation creates a new scenario for a rights-based approach and breaks with established patterns in the functioning of institutions and social movements. This report refers to the previous period of government as regards events from 2005 to 2008 and to the present period of government for events since 15 August 2008.

II. Follow-up to the Committee’s concluding observations of 2005

A. Paragraph 17 of the concluding observations

1. Measures adopted

12. The immediate action taken in pursuance of the concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women was to give extensive coverage through the media to the fact that, after nine years and three pending reports, Paraguay had again appeared before the Committee in January 2005 and that, following a constructive dialogue, the Committee had highlighted positive aspects and concerns and had made observations and recommendations to Paraguay with a view to the full implementation of the Convention.

13. In the same year, discussions were held with public institutions with the aim of highlighting the Second National Plan for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men 2003–2008 (II PNIO) and promoting the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Beijing Platform, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other platforms on the international gender agenda. The Convention and its Optional Protocol, the Committee’s concluding observations, the Beijing Platform, the Cairo Programme of Action and the consensuses of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) were distributed to all State institutions, including all standing advisory committees of Congress, as well as to all female and feminist human rights organizations.

14. The Inter-Agency Board for follow-up on implementation of the Convention (CEDAW Board) was formed with public institutions of the three branches of government. The main civil society organizations concerned with feminism (the Paraguayan Chapter of the Latin American Committee for the Defence of Women’s Rights (CLADEM), and the Paraguayan Women’s Coordination Unit (CMP)) and human rights (the Paraguay Human Rights Coordination Unit (CODEHUPY)) were invited to form part of the CEDAW Board. These organizations decided not to join the Board on the grounds that responsibility for implementing the Convention lay with the Paraguayan State, with civil society organizations playing an independent monitoring role.

15. The first shadow report (2005) drawn up by civil society organizations and coordinated by CLADEM Paraguay was submitted to the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic with the aim of sharing perspectives on the Convention. The Secretariat for Women and representatives of gender mechanisms participated in the Feminist Assemblies organized by civil society. The Fourth Feminist Assembly held at San Bernardino, Cordillera department, in 2009 provided a fruitful context for an exchange of information on activities by the State and civil society during the Convention’s 30 years of existence and expressed support for the official candidature of our compatriot, Line Bareiro, as a member of the committee of experts.

16. In early 2008, meetings were held to evaluate II PNIO and in mid-2008 the Third National Plan for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men 2008–2017 was launched. In August 2008, Gloria Rubín, a well-known feminist activist and head of the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic, assigned technical advisers the task of reviewing consultancy reports on the implementation of II PNIO and the legal framework for defining the main management strategies and priorities with a view to the institutional enhancement and strengthening of the gender agenda in the Paraguayan State. The clear management priorities are: to establish the Secretariat as the lead standard-setting agency in government decision-making bodies; to take action at the highest levels to further gender equality; to provide comprehensive care in case of violence against women; to regulate the principles established in the Constitution through the formulation of an Equal Opportunity Act and a Comprehensive Act against Violence towards Women; to apply decentralized gender management promoting institutional cooperation bodies; and to introduce mechanisms for participation by women and civil society.

2. Results achieved

17. Increased knowledge of the Convention among public servants and national authorities; formulation of a proposal for a comprehensive operational plan based on the Committee’s concluding observations and thematic round tables on “Responsible parenthood”, “Prevention of maternal mortality”, “Feminization of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections” and “Human rights of indigenous women”; elaboration and development of the “Promotion and strategic training on CEDAW” project supported by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

18. Since 2009, the Convention has been available in the Guarani language and in Braille. Publication and subsequent distribution are pending.

B. Paragraph 18

1. Measures adopted

19. Political and public life: The main obstacles to women’s access to positions of authority that have been identified in Paraguay are cultural factors compounded by an Electoral Code which sets a low women’s quota, without any provision for verifying non-compliance. In this regard, and given that the gender agenda will be strengthened by the empowerment of women and their access to powerful positions, the Office of the Ombudsman and some women’s groups put forward proposals for the amendment of the Electoral Code in 2005. Efforts to build a consensus among women’s groups and the parliamentary lobby took several years, and the consensus proposal, aimed at raising the quota for female participation and alternating between men and women in the preparation of the original political party lists was tabled in the plenary Chamber of Deputies, but fell two votes short of adoption. This clearly demonstrates how Paraguayan culture and political will serves to maintain low levels of female participation in the public sphere and positions of authority.

20. The Female Leadership Centre established in 2005 has trained more than 1,000 women politicians and facilitated dialogue with national and international authorities. The following year, this initiative of the Secretariat for Women won the backing of UNIFEM and the High Court of Electoral Justice of Paraguay and has been deemed a success through being open, pluralist and free of charge.

21. The evaluation of II PNIO (2008) revealed that social and political participation is one of the areas where the least has been done since the launch of that Plan; accordingly, in March 2009, the Secretariat for Women signed a memorandum of understanding with UNIFEM and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for implementation of the joint programme “Political participation for gender equality” with the aim of combining synergies for data production and analysis concerning the electoral system in the Republic of Paraguay and the effects of affirmative action mechanisms and barriers to the political participation of women and increasing the capacity of political and social actors. The workplan for 2010 includes the preparation of analytical and diagnostic models of political representation, training for women chosen in party elections, open round tables and round tables involving gender mechanisms of political parties.

22. Literacy: In response to the concluding observations of the Committee and those of the Human Rights Committee and in the context of the “Education and training of women” component of the Beijing Platform, the Ministry of Education and Culture has carried out literacy and basic education programmes and projects geared to community development, production and vocational training through (a) literacy training in both Guarani and Spanish concerning gender and reproductive health (Ministry of Education and Culture/Paraguayan American Chamber of Commerce/Italian Cooperation) involving targeted care for men and women in each of the departments of implementation. During the period 2004–2008, programmes and projects were executed in the departments of Itapúa, Caaguazú, San Pedro, Guairá, Paraguari, Caazapá, Concepción, Amambay and Canindeyú (9 of the country’s 17 departments); (b) Alfa PRODEPA Prepara: instruction through learning circles in continuing education centres, public institutions, churches, cooperatives and associations in each of the country’s 17 departments; (c) distance learning: audio-visual literacy programme implemented in Caazapá, Concepción, San Pedro, Alto Paraná, Amambay, Central and Alto Paraguay (7 of the country’s departments, period 2004–2007); (d) basic and secondary distance education for young people and adults – PRODEPA (Ministry of Education and Culture/Spanish International Development Cooperation Agency (AECID)), formal programme implemented in adult education centres in all of the country’s 17 geographical departments. All these programmes are conducted in both Guarani and Spanish.

23. Dropping out: During the reporting period, the Ministry of Education and Culture has expanded its national coverage (greater number of schools and hiring of more teachers in public education). School dropout rates continue to be high. Of pupils in the third cycle of basic school education, 5.4 per cent have dropped out (the highest figures are for rural areas and the public sector). Between 2004 and 2009 the Technical and Financial Support Programme was conducted for young people with limited means in the interior of the country (Peace Corps/Union of Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs/Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic). This programme helped to keep more than 160 young people in the educational system and encouraged community work and youth leadership. The Secretariat for Women submitted a technical cooperation proposal for programme implementation to the Peace Corps so as to provide an opportunity to young women of limited means who had abandoned their studies on becoming pregnant.

2. Results achieved

24. Political and public life: Political dialogues with women politicians, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and heads of political parties; increase in the quota for female participation in political parties above the level stipulated by the Electoral Code, as for example in the case of the País Solidario Party, which sets the participation rate at 50 per cent, and the National Union of Ethical Citizens (UNACE), which also has a 50 per cent rate besides having specific regulations regarding interpretation of the quota, and the ANR (Colorado Party) which establishes a level of 33.3 per cent for female participation; and joint activities with the High Court of Electoral Justice the recent creation of a Gender Directorate within its structure. However, the percentages of female participation are not actually observed in practice and have not led to an increase in the number of women elected.

25. Literacy: According to official reports from 2005, the illiteracy rate is 8.2 per cent overall but is higher for women (rural women, indigenous women and peasant women) than for men – 9.9 per cent, as against 6.4 per cent. The net enrolment rate by gender is higher for women than for men at all levels of education, particularly secondary education, where the female enrolment rate is more than 5 percentage points greater than that for men (43.3 per cent for women, 38.1 per cent for men). The Government’s management report for 2009 records that 2,400 persons from indigenous settlements and communities in border areas and the Chaco have received literacy training: that 38,562 persons are enrolled in basic school education; and that 12,209 young persons and adults have an opportunity to complete secondary education.

26. Dropping out: In 2007, the gross rate of access for all age groups entering primary education for the first time was 100.2 per cent. This figure indicates that the educational system is capable of meeting actual demand from boys and girls who have reached the official entrance age (6 years). Ninety-one per cent of the population aged 6 to 14 (basic school education compulsory) attend an educational institution.

C. Paragraph 19

1. Measures adopted

27. In the light of general recommendation No. 23 on political and public life, agreements have been concluded with national Ministries and departmental and municipal governments for efforts to be made to establish gender areas, committees and directorates in the institutions and Women’s Bureaux in departmental and municipal governments. During the period from 2005 to early 2010, 16 Women’s Bureaux were set up in 17 departmental governments, 12 with their own budget, while 130 Women’s Bureaux were established in 237 of the country’s municipalities. One significant step forward in 2009 was the allocation of budgetary resources by municipalities to their Women’s Bureaux; the municipality of Ayolas, Misiones department, was the first in the country to take this administrative step. Difficulties have arisen in budget execution and decision-making, and most are established in areas which, in addition to the advancement of women, comprise other fields of social interest such as children, the elderly, adolescents and indigenous affairs. The Paraguayan Parliament is currently studying the proposed Decentralization Act, which seeks to strengthen the process politically and administratively; the draft bill covers women, but it does not provide for regulations on the matter. This draft will be reviewed by a special committee, and the Secretariat for Women has made recommendations.

D. Paragraphs 20 and 21

28. Article 46 of the 1992 Constitution prohibits discrimination (“All inhabitants of the Republic are equal in dignity and rights. Discrimination shall not be allowed”) and requires the State to remove obstacles which maintain or foster such discrimination. The State guarantees equality before the law in access to justice and public service, subject only to the requirements of suitability and equal opportunity.

29. Article 40 establishes equality of rights for men and women: “Men and women have equal civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. The State shall promote conditions and establish appropriate mechanisms to ensure that equality is genuine and effective, removing obstacles preventing or hampering its exercise and facilitating the participation of women in all spheres of national life”.

30. In connection with the submission of this sixth periodic report, copies of Supreme Court decisions have been presented to show that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Pará) have been invoked in court cases under Paraguayan positive law. Such invocation cannot yet be regarded as structural, but important contacts have been established with a view to improving access to justice through a series of as yet incipient training and monitoring schemes.

31. Under the Anti-Discrimination Agreement (2006) signed between the Committee for Equity and Social Development of the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate Committee for Equity, Gender and Social Development, the NGO Documentation and Studies Centre (CDE) and the United National Population Fund (UNFPA), five regional forums, one thematic forum, six sectoral consultations and two consultations with experts have been held on the basic document of the preliminary draft Act against Any Form of Discrimination, and specifically on forms of discrimination in Paraguay and machinery for punishing those who discriminate. On 16 May 2007, the preliminary draft was submitted to the Chairperson of the Senate Committee for Equity, Gender and Social Development. The draft has been referred to the Legislation, Constitutional Affairs, Human Rights and Equity and Gender Committees for their consideration and opinion. In 2007, the Network against Any Form of Discrimination was formed under the watchword “We are all equal”, with a membership of 21 civil society organizations and three United Nations agencies. Between 2007 and the present, there have been public hearings, discussion forums and parliamentary lobbying calling for the adoption of the bill, but so far no decision has been taken. The public opposition of civil society movements to this draft and the failure of the responsible committees to give their opinion lead to the conclusion that there are still sexist, cultural and religious stereotypes that prevent an understanding of the scope of this proposal for the elimination of all forms of discrimination.

32. In late 2009, pursuant to Public Service Act No. 1626/2000, the Ministry of the Public Service published a guide to inclusive and non-discriminatory practices in the public service. The guide points the public service towards concepts, norms and specific practices regarding non-discrimination and inclusion. It describes implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women as the most effective tool for incorporating a rights-based, gender equality approach.

33. As regards dissemination of the basic rights of women, one activity which deserves particular mention is the highly successful and widely accepted “Equal in everything” campaign conducted from 2004 to 2007. It involved promotion of the empowerment of women, prevention and punishment of domestic violence, action to combat trafficking in persons, prevention of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS and equal remuneration between women and men.

34. In 2005, one of the television messages broadcast (“I received flowers today”), which formed an important part of the “We are all equal” campaign, won first prize at the Festival Iberoamericano de la Publicidead (FIAP). The television message “Cuento” on trafficking in persons forming part of the same campaign by the Secretariat for Women also won a prize for a second time – on this occasion, the bronze prize in the category “Bien Público” Tatakuá 2007 Festival de Ideas, organized by the Paraguay Creative Circle. “Cuento” relays the theme “Don’t be taken in by fairy tales”, which denounces trafficking in persons and at the same time seeks to educate people on this problem, which mainly affects women.

35. Lastly, the Women’s Digital Community (CODIM) provides a direct weekly information bulletin to more than 1,000 organizations and individuals. The information is available round the clock, with windows giving access to complaints of cases of violence, information and audio-visual materials for gender awareness-raising and education. In 2009, with support from UNFPA, the “Lentes Lilas” material was prepared as an essential tool for changing media language and reflecting on the effects of sexism in the media. One hundred and eighty communicators participated.

E. Paragraphs 22 and 23

36. The Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic coordinates the implementation of the National Plans for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men – in the case of the 2004–2008 period, the second such Plan, approved by Executive Decree. This approval helped to disseminate the plan and incorporate technical tools in the operational plans of ministries and institutions, mainly in the executive branch, as well as giving it a legal status providing an impetus to gender mainstreaming, especially in the interior of the country.

37. The Third National Plan for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men includes, as priority cross-cutting themes, the rights-based approach, poverty reduction, the life cycle, the specificities of rural areas, ethnicity and the need to adopt special measures contributing to genuine equality. The Beijing Platform for Action had an impact on the way in which equal opportunity plans were structured in terms of fields and lines of action.

38. The principle of equality upheld in the Constitution and the Convention was incorporated in the current draft National Social Development Plan, whose formulation is being coordinated by the Government’s Social Affairs Unit. In addition, the Government’s Strategic Economic and Social Plan provides that employment promotion measures should be geared to overcoming three problems which have an important impact on the fight against poverty. The first relates to gender inequalities. “These problems have to be tackled through measures promoting equality of opportunity between men and women and striking at the roots of the discrimination suffered by women in Paraguayan society. The second problem is related to the difficulties of the Paraguayan economy in offering employment opportunities to society’s youngest age groups. Lastly, in the long term, the contribution to poverty reduction made by incorporation into the labour market depends on an increase in education and training levels among the population”.

F. Paragraph 24

1. Clarification

39. The Domestic Violence Act, No. 1600/00, provides a civil remedy establishing urgent protection measures for anyone suffering physical, psychological or sexual injury or maltreatment. The magistrates’ courts responsible for such protection take action to exclude aggressors from the home; to prohibit aggressors from approaching victims; in case it is the latter who leave the home, to permit removal of their belongings and those of their minor children; to enable victims to return to their home; and other similar provisions. Act No. 1600 does not provide for fines. These measures do not preclude the possibility of recourse to the criminal courts.

2. Measures adopted

40. Proposed amendments to the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure were submitted to the National Commission for the Reform of the Criminal and Prison System. The Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic supported proposals submitted by the Paraguayan Women’s Coordination Unit (CMP), and both the head of the Secretariat and the technical team lobbied the President and members of the Commission to have the proposals incorporated. Proposed amendments to Act No. 1600/00 were also submitted to the Senate Committee for Equity, Gender and Social Development in the course of 2005.

41. Since late 2009, the Senate Committee for Equity, Gender and Social Development, the Secretariat for Women and UNIFEM have together been organizing the process of elaborating a draft Comprehensive Act against Violence towards Women. This is the starting point for a process of discussing and formulating a new proposal (not a revision) for a Comprehensive Act against Violence towards Women. The specific objectives are: to establish special task forces, to prepare a Comprehensive Act against Violence towards Women and promote the critical and active participation of organizations and individuals belonging to the women’s movement in the discussion process; and to gather suggestions as to how to organize a process of inclusive debate on the problem of male gender violence, considered as an expression of unequal relations restricting women’s rights and opportunities for full development.

3. Results achieved

42. Act No. 3440 (Criminal Code) was promulgated on 16 July 2008. Its article 229, referring to domestic violence, provides: “Anyone who, in the family context, habitually practises physical violence against or inflicts severe mental suffering on another person with whom he is living shall be liable to a prison sentence of up to two years, or a fine”. Thus, domestic violence is maintained as a punishable act, and a prison sentence as well as a fine can be imposed. Another step forward is the inclusion of mental suffering as a manifestation of violence. The categorization of this punishable offence in the Code is still regarded as inadequate in that the conduct has to be habitual and the drafting is in the masculine gender. Article 128 was also amended to refer, inter alia, to sexual coercion and rape. To ensure a comprehensive approach to violence against women, the task force responsible for promoting the process of formulating the draft Comprehensive Act against Violence towards Women was established.

G. Paragraph 25

1. Measures adopted

43. Comprehensive approach to violence: In 2006, the Inter-Agency Committee for the Plan on Prevention and Punishment of Violence against Women facilitated the conclusion of an agreement between the Supreme Court and the Secretariat for Women for the introduction of the violence registration form by the magistrate courts at the national level and the exchange of information related to domestic violence. Registration materials were distributed to the statistical data processing section and officials of the judiciary planning service. The Ministry of the Interior, the National Police and the Ministry of Public Health signed an agreement to improve internal regulations and procedures to deal with domestic violence. In 2009, the Inter-Agency Committee to Combat Violence against Women, Children and Adolescents was formed with the aim of providing quality care and personalized follow-up of cases (Ministry of the Interior/National Police/Secretariat for Women/Secretariat for Children and Adolescents/Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare).

44. The Asunción Declaration signed at the Meeting of Ibero-American Female Magistrates in 2007 pledged to establish a Justice and Gender Monitoring Centre in the light of the provisions of the Convention of Belem do Pará. In 2009, the Office for Women was established as an organ of the judiciary and the Justice and Gender Monitoring Centre was introduced. Mention should be made of the coordination that exists between the work of international cooperation bodies (UNFPA/UNIFEM/UNDP), civil society (CLADEM) and the State (judiciary) under the MAJUVI project (Monitoring and training for improved access to justice by women victims of violence). This project has created important alliances in the judicial field and has extended training to the interior of the country, and its various activities contribute to the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Committee’s general recommendation No. 19 and the Convention of Belem do Pará.

45. As part of the campaign for the elimination of violence against women, the Itaipú Binacional entity has agreed to cooperate in assisting victims of domestic violence and trafficking in persons under the 2010 workplan. In addition, a project for establishing referral centres in departments situated along Paraguay’s borders was presented to the Spanish International Development Cooperation Agency, AECID. AECID is assisting in the institutional strengthening of the Secretariat for Women, particularly with the aim of combating domestic violence, and is contributing to national and local projects with rural and indigenous women.

46. A considerable quantity of materials and information has been published and disseminated during the reporting period, including: (a) “Design of an alternative comprehensive prevention and care model for domestic violence” by the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which contains a proposal for intervention, prevention and treatment of domestic violence based on social networks; and “Manual for attending to cases of domestic violence”, adopted pursuant to the Domestic Violence Act, No. 1600, in conjunction with the Tripartite Board for follow-up of the Beijing Platform (United Nations/CMP/Secretariat for Women). These materials were distributed to key actors in standard enforcement, institutional professionals and departmental Women’s Bureaux. In 2009, a manual of procedures for forensic examination of victims, sampling and case referral was issued, as also were the Regulations for the operation of the pilot reception and comprehensive care centre for women victims of domestic violence and their dependants.

47. Sexual violence: The Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic worked with the Public Prosecutor’s Office on the Spanish project under the EUROsocial Justice programme, involving the holding of workshops on violence and gender and sexual assault for persons intervening in such cases, and workshops with forensic experts on the use of kits for the taking of samples in cases of sexual violence. Arrangements were made for the Complaints Bureau of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to be present in the Medical Emergency Centre so that victims of sexual abuse, sexual coercion and domestic violence could undergo a medical examination and lodge a complaint in one and the same place.

48. Sexual harassment: Conduct of a campaign called “You harass me, and I will accuse you” (2006) involving training and awareness-raising workshops for public officials, secondary-school students and trade unionists. Information materials were distributed and the aims of the campaign were explained through the media.

49. Shelter: With support from AECID, the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic is carrying out a project to build a shelter for women victims of domestic violence and training officials responsible for enforcing the Domestic Violence Act, No. 1600. The municipality of Ciudad del Este in the Alto Paraná department (tri-border area) has decided to provide a building to set up a shelter for victims of domestic violence. Agreements for the implementation of this project are pending. Recently, in the same tri-border area, at Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, a service for women victims of violence and trafficking in persons was inaugurated at the Migrant’s House; care will be provided to women of all nationalities, mainly Paraguayan, Argentine and Brazilian women who live or are in transit in this area.

50. Increasing awareness among public officials: The 911 alarm call system of the National Police has assigned the number 1600 to deal with cases of domestic violence and differentiates in recording such cases. Forums for dialogue have been held on the use of domestic violence forms in magistrates’ courts and the establishment of local networks for dealing with violence against women, in the Guairá, Itapúa and Central departments.

51. A total of 885 officials involved in implementing Act No. 1600/00 have been trained (justices of the peace and health officials in Guairá, Caaguazú, Alto Paraná, Itapúa, Concepción, and Ñeembucú; police officers in the Central and metropolitan area; students at the Police Training Institute; staff of departmental Women’s Bureaux in the interior of the country), as well as 545 persons (male and female parent community leaders in Asunción, San Lorenzo, Área Refugio, Villa Esperanza, Nuevo Hogar and Coronel Oviedo; public officials in Asunción, trade unionists in Asunción, students at colleges and universities in Asunción and the Chaco, and educators at Yaguarón and Asunción); 190 police officers, 40 telephonists for the 911 emergency line, 253 urban police candidates, 30 care workers, and 538 students, parents and women in various communities. In 2009, 356 implementing officials and 445 individuals were trained in various departments of the country.

52. One of the major procedural obstacles to efforts to protect victims is the use of conciliation as a means of conflict resolution. The position of the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic is that no kind of mediation or conciliation should be used in cases of violence against women. Another obstacle is the perpetual mobility of implementing officials and the consequent need for further training, particularly of police and health workers.

53. Cooperation with civil society: Joint training for implementing officials. Such training has been provided in four departments of the country — Central, Misiones, Paraguarí and Villa Hayes — while material entitled “Care model for victims of violence” has been developed for actors in the interior of the country. Consultations are being conducted with independent professionals with recognized experience in the subject with a view to strengthening the Inter-Agency Committee for the Plan on Prevention and Punishment of Violence against Women.

54. Girls: In 2009, the Secretariat for Children and Adolescents obtained a significant increase in its budget, which enabled it to carry out activities for the protection of the rights of children, particularly street children, and cooperate in programmes such as Saso Poahu, coordinated by the Secretariat for Social Action. The Saso Poahu programme consists of a series of initiatives envisaged by this Secretariat to improve the living conditions of families suffering from poverty and extreme poverty. Problems related to children and adolescents dealt with in the “Días de Gobierno” which the Government is organizing in the interior of the country and in neighbourhoods of the capital mainly involve the need for stronger institutions, training of police officers, registration of persons, domestic violence and sexual abuse.

2. Results achieved

55. Thanks to institutional coordination, it was possible to train police and magistrate courts’ personnel and medical staff, to provide free medical examinations to victims and inform them of the results, to draw up a proposal for a medical protocol to be applied in cases of domestic violence and to incorporate policies for the prevention of violence against women in public security programmes. Police High Command decision No. 309 provides for first aid centres for victims of domestic violence in six police precincts in the metropolitan and central area, and in the cities of Encarnación, Villarrica and Ciudad del Este. In addition, Agreement No. 454 makes it obligatory to use the “violence registration form”. Three care centres are already operational in the 6th, 7th and 15th police precincts in the capital, Asunción.

56. Paraguay’s first hostel for women victims of domestic violence is about to be inaugurated. Lastly, an average of 2,500 cases per year were dealt with by the Women’s Support Service (SEDAMUR) of the Secretariat for Women between 2003 and 2008.

H. Paragraphs 26 and 27

57. No institution has adopted measures in this regard, since management priorities are focused on combating domestic violence and trafficking in persons and on the need for institutional support for the Third National Plan for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men.

I. Paragraph 28

1. Measures adopted

58. Mention should be made of Executive Decree No. 5093/2005 pursuant to Act No. 2396 of 28 May 2004 approving the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and Act No. 2134 of 22 July 2003, ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, which set up the Inter-Agency Board to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Republic of Paraguay with the aim of steering public policies and guidelines for action to prevent, punish and combat human trafficking (13 institutions). The Board recommended an exploratory study on smuggling of persons and/or human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation in Paraguay. A survey was conducted by the NGO Luna Nueva between August 2004 and January 2005 and published in June 2005.

59. Results achieved: Trafficking in persons has been placed on the national agenda, and inter-agency and intersectoral mechanisms are functioning. October 2008 saw the official inauguration of the Special Unit on Trafficking in Persons and Sexual Exploitation of Children of the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Since opening, the Unit has received 93 complaints, 18 international operations have been conducted, 63 victims have been rescued from the sexual exploitation networks, and 18 convictions have been obtained.

2. Results achieved

60. Repatriation of women victims of trafficking in persons for the purposes of sexual exploitation in 32 cases, involving 95 women, 6 adolescents and 1 male minor. Fifty-eight per cent of cases originate in Argentina, 23 per cent from Bolivia, 15 per cent from Spain and 4 per cent from other sources (Cyprus, France, Korea, Switzerland, Italy).

61. Referral Centre for Victims and Their Relatives, within the Women’s Support Service (SEDAMUR). This Centre provides legal and psychological assistance and medical care, as well as follow-up to ensure the reintegration of victims in society. Between November 2007 and September 2008 it dealt with 16 cases of trafficking in persons involving 24 women, 16 of them adults aged between 18 and 37. Ninety per cent of the cases originate in Argentina and come from Gran Asunción and cities in the interior: Ñeembucú, Alto Paraná, Caaguazú, Caazapá, Coronel Oviedo, Encarnación and Cordillera.

62. Under a programme supported by the Government of the United States of America, an exploratory study was conducted on security and control of the movement of persons in border areas of Paraguay, including Pedro Juan Caballero, Ciudad del Este and Puerto Falcón. The results of this investigation are being kept confidential by the two countries and are not intended for publication. There is a supporting instrument for evaluating and recommending measures to improve activities in these areas. Material: “Human Trafficking Action Manual”, critical action path defined.

J. Paragraph 29

1. Measures adopted

63. Implementation of the project “Support programme for action against trafficking in persons, especially women and children”, financed by the IDB Fund for Special Operations (FSO), whose general aim is to “broaden the national debate on trafficking in persons, particularly women and children, and place it on the agenda for protection of human rights, security and justice, so as to highlight the need for appropriate policies to combat this offence and enable Paraguayan society to provide solutions”.

64. The programme provides for inter-agency boards to be established in departments identified as lying on human trafficking routes, to function in coordination with the neighbouring countries, and a legal consultancy for drawing up a bill to combat trafficking in persons.

2. Results achieved

65. Presentation of the aims of the programme in 12 Paraguayan departments and establishment of inter-agency boards in 4 departments. In connection with the twenty-first Specialized Meeting of Women of MERCOSUR, the First Regional Seminar on Trafficking in Persons was held in a department in the tri-border area.

66. A functioning Temporary Accommodation Centre and a programme Directorate, incorporated in the organizational structure and budget of the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic. More than 60 victims were accommodated in this Centre during 2009 and early 2010.

67. An inter-agency computer network providing for a case management system, whose main server is located in the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

68. National victimization survey (inter-agency cooperation agreement between the Ministry of the Interior, the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic, the Directorate-General for Statistics, Surveys and Censuses, UNDP, UNIFEM and AECID, the Spanish International Development Cooperation Agency). The survey is directed towards the population habitually or permanently residing in private homes for all or most of the year. The size of the sample (5,500 homes) guarantees representative results, with coverage of all 17 departments, urban and rural areas, and the capital, Asunción. The variables investigated include sexual violence, coercion and trafficking in persons. The database has just been completed and the results are in the process of being analysed.

69. Systematization and analysis of information in relation to quantitative aspects of trafficking in persons in Paraguay. This is affected by the volume and quality of the information available in the institutions competent for such trafficking, as well as the lack of a unified register covering all institutions, and the small staff assigned to this area, which makes registration difficult.

K. Paragraph 30

1. Measures adopted

70. Domestic work: The main focus of recent activity by NGOs, acting together with State institutions, has been promotion of the incorporation of “remunerated domestic work” in the national agenda. Thematic round tables such as the national round table on job creation for young people, have been held, and a task force has been formed to provide impetus. The National Tripartite Commission to promote and examine equal employment opportunities for women at work has participated in various State and civil society initiatives, lending tripartite support to discussions and activities.

71. Through the Directorate for Working Women, the Office of the Deputy Minister for Labour and Social Security has conducted consultations among female domestic workers in some priority neighbourhoods of the capital and in supermarkets, and has distributed explanatory pamphlets on their labour rights and where and how to lodge complaints under the “Gender equality at the heart of decent work” campaign.

72. With civil society: In conjunction with the Office of the Deputy Minister for Justice and Labour, the Documentation and Studies Centre (CDE) has conducted a series of awareness-raising activities within that Office, with various workshops being held for officials and labour inspectors and mediators.

73. The Pares project (by the NGO Alter Vida) made domestic employment a priority on the national and regional agenda. In this context, as part of dissemination and awareness-raising activities, a short film was made on domestic workers and the situations and legal discrimination which they experience. The project led to the creation of joint machinery in the interior of the country and promoted good labour practices at the municipal level.

74. Women in the informal sector: Since the Pares project, the problems encountered by women in this sector have been analysed at joint tripartite seminars in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice and Labour.

75. Participation of women in the formal labour market and persistent wage disparities between women and men: Discussions have been held with entrepreneurs, trade unions and civil society in connection with the process of ratifying the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention concerning Workers with Family Responsibilities (No. 156). Since 2009, the Government of the Central department, through the Coordinating Unit for Women, has been implementing the PACEF (“Pact for the Training and Employment of Women”) project. The Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic and the Paraguayan Industrial Union have signed up to participate in this project, which aims at the conclusion of training agreements for women and the creation of mechanisms for women’s integration in the labour market and employment (European Union-funded under the Urbal III programme).

76. Within the Tripartite Commission for equal employment opportunities for women, the regulations regarding conditions and functioning of day-care centres are being reviewed with a view to securing companies approval for such centres and hence improved accessibility for families.

2. Results achieved

77. Domestic work: Placing domestic work on the national agenda as a priority for plans, programmes and projects. Publications “What needs to change – for the legal equality of workers in domestic service” (CDE/Pares/Alter Vida/European Union/Interchurch Organisation for Development Cooperation (ICCO)). Commitments by national authorities to analyse demands, particularly by the Social Security Institute (IPS), which were subsequently expressed in an IPS resolution for providing national health coverage to remunerated domestic workers. Publication “Necessary, Invisible, Discriminated Against – Domestic workers in Paraguay” (CDE/ILO).

78. Women in the informal sector: The National Agenda on Women and Employment, which includes problems and proposals.

79. ILO Convention No. 156, ratified by Act No. 3338/07. Republic of Paraguay notified as a signatory country by the International Labour Office in December 2008.

80. Youth programme: Capacities and economic opportunities for social inclusion: development of the “opportunities” programme on an inter-agency basis and in coordination with civil society and outside cooperation, dealing with all the main themes mentioned earlier. The views of governmental sectors, civil society and trade unions are currently being ascertained with a view to amending the Labour Code in respect of domestic work.

L. Paragraph 31

1. Measures adopted

81. In this connection, labour inspectors, mediators and supervisors have been trained on the regulations regarding domestic workers and dangerous forms of child labour.

82. Various awareness-raising activities have been conducted, for instance within the Paraguayan Industrial Union and elsewhere, on the subject of dangerous forms of child labour and Act No. 1657/01 lists prohibited forms of dangerous child labour, in accordance with ILO Conventions Nos. 138 and 182, with emphasis on the Vallemi limestone quarries and the brick factories of Tobatí, where there have been interventions, and the sugar cane plantations.

M. Paragraph 32

1. Measures adopted

83. On the basis of inter-agency coordination, the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare has participated in the formulation, implementation and evaluation of the Second National Plan for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men 2003–2008 and the Second National Plan on Sexual and Reproductive Health. The latter comprises eight functional areas and adopts a systemic approach. The first area is safe motherhood, with delivery being conducted by qualified staff in an appropriate environment and obstetric and neonatal emergencies being suitably dealt with on the basis of factual observation. For this purpose steps taken include the elimination of barriers to women’s access to prenatal services, basic analyses, AIDS/HIV testing, provision of iron and folic acid, ecography, cervical examination and free dental examinations, as well as care during childbirth, caesarean deliveries, post-partum checks, incomplete abortions and neonatal obstetric emergencies, hospitalization and free medicines and supplies. These actions are based on Presidential Decree No. 10540/2007, which provides that services for pregnant women and newborn children in any of the facilities coming under the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare shall be free of charge. With a view to the progressive introduction of the principle of universal free care, decision No. 1074/2009 extends exemption from charges for all medical and dental care, medicines, supplies, biological products and ambulance services to all hospitals, health centres and health posts.

84. As regards family planning, Act No. 2907 (guaranteed budget) succeeded in reducing to less than 2 per cent the supply shortfall in all Ministry of Health services, with the timely and appropriate provision of contraceptives to the basic basket for all services, as well as the provision of instruments and teams to regions of greatest need.

85. As to action-oriented research, the RAMOS method has been used to conduct a study to identify, compile and disseminate information on the reasons or causes of death among women of childbearing age in order to facilitate the necessary preventive measures. This is in addition to the efforts made under the National Plan on Sexual and Reproductive Health 2009–2013 in response to the commitments assumed by Paraguay for measures to reduce maternal mortality under Millennium Development Goals Nos. 4 and 5.

86. This study covers a period of one year (1 October 2007–30 September 2008). Reports were obtained on deaths among women of childbearing age, between 10 and 54, in the three health regions with the greatest population density in this age group: Asunción, Central and Alto Paraná.

87. It was concluded that the maternal mortality rate for the three regions covered by the survey during the period in question was 98 per 100,000 live births. The leading cause of direct maternal death was found to be hypertensive disorders in pregnancy (33.3 per cent), followed by abortion (23.3 per cent), and, in third position, haemorrhaging. Indirect causes account for 21.4 per cent of maternal deaths, the main one being cardio-circulatory disorders. Among the 43 maternal deaths, 74.4 per cent of the women concerned had had access to prenatal care, while 50 per cent of those who had received care, and for whom information could be obtained, had had between one and five consultations.

88. By ministerial decision No. 44 of 24 January 2009, a Violence and Gender Unit was established within the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare. This Unit is the focal point for the preparation of a Protocol for Assistance to Victims of Violence intended for application by all health services; the work involves the Ministry of Public Health, the Office of the Attorney-General, the Ministry of the Interior, the National Police, the Secretariat for Women and the Secretariat for Children. In addition, the gender perspective has been incorporated in Health Ministry plans, programmes and projects.

2. Results achieved

89. Prenatal screening has increased by 90.5 per cent (2008), with a nationwide figure of four prenatal consultations according to standards established by the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare. In 2004, 71.3 per cent of pregnant women underwent at least one prenatal test. Hospital births have also increased, from 74.1 per cent in 2004 to 84.6 per cent in 2008 (Source: National Survey on Demography and Sexual and Reproductive Health 2008 (Paraguayan Population Studies Centre – CEPEP)).

90. The maternal mortality ratio per 100,000 live births has declined from 128.6 (2005) to 118.5 (2008) (Source: Guide to Epidemiological Surveillance and Maternal and Neonatal Morbidity and Mortality Biostatistics Directorate of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare). The use of modern contraceptive methods by married women or women in partnerships between the ages of 15 and 44 increased from 74.1 per cent in 2004 to 84.6 per cent in 2008. The figures for urban and rural areas are 92.9 per cent and 74 per cent respectively, while there is an increase for the public-sector health services from 31.7 per cent to 42.3 per cent (National Survey on Demography and Sexual and Reproductive Health 2008). Sales of contraceptives have declined in pharmacies (16.9 per cent) and have remained steady in the private sector (11 per cent). Modern contraceptive methods are provided free of charge and are readily available in all health facilities coming under the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare.

91. One of the most striking aspects of reproductive behaviour is the fall in the fertility rate which, according to the National Survey on Demography and Sexual and Reproductive Health 2008, went down from 4.6 births per woman in 1990 to 2.5 births some 20 years later – a decline of almost 50 per cent.

N. Paragraph 33

1. Measures adopted

92. The Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare is analysing a proposed ministerial decision enabling women to receive health services assistance for incomplete abortions, with assurances of confidentiality.

93. The preliminary project on sexual and reproductive health and maternal and perinatal health is still awaiting reports by the standing committees of the Senate, although public hearings have been held and inter-agency and intersectoral inputs obtained for its study and approval. Article 1 provides for “Contributing to the full development of individuals through respect, recognition and protection of sexual and reproductive rights, on terms of equality for men and women.”

94. Thematic round tables on gender and health involving various State institutions have been held to discuss basic points related to the overall health of men and women from a gender perspective. The following subjects have been addressed:

(a) Free syphilis and HIV/AIDS examinations for pregnant women;

(b) Free breast milk substitutes for women with HIV/AIDS;

(c) Incorporation of a gender perspective in tuberculosis programmes;

(d) Incorporation of a gender perspective in programmes of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare with a view to presenting the Comprehensive Health Programme for Men and Women formulated by the Secretariat for Women;

(e) Municipalities with a good gender perspective record with emphasis on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, with a view to incorporating this theme in the plans and projects of municipalities in the Central, Alto Paraná and Encarnación departments;

(f) Gender-sensitive health budget.

95. Under the campaign for prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections conducted by the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic with support from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), educational materials such as decals, leaflets and pamphlets have been prepared and distributed.

2. Results achieved

96. According to the National Survey on Demography and Sexual and Reproductive Health 2008, prenatal care has increased by 90.5 per cent nationwide (94.4 per cent in urban areas and 85.4 per cent in rural areas), with four check-ups according to Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare Standards.

97. Prenatal consultations are in greatest demand among mothers in urban areas with 12 or more years of schooling and a high socio-economic level. Hospitalized childbirth has also increased, from 74.1 per cent in 2004 to 84.6 per cent in 2008 (Source: ibid., 2008). There has been an increase in the use of contraceptive methods by women aged 15 to 44 in recent years, up from 50.7 per cent in 1995 to 79.4 per cent in 2008 (Ibid., 2008).

98. Under Act No. 3440/08 adopting the new Criminal Code, abortion continues to be a punishable offence carrying a prison sentence of up to 2 years. Decree No. 10540/2007 refers to care for pregnant women and newborn children, while decision No. 1074/2009 relates to the progressive introduction of universal free care.

O. Paragraph 34

1. Measures adopted

99. As part of the process of institutional modernization, the Institute of Rural and Land Development (INDERT) has computerized the register of land acquisition and holding by women and men through special forms, which provide for account to be taken of de facto unions; in case of doubt, ownership is awarded to the woman.

100. Groups applying for land acquisition must be composed of not less than 30 per cent of women. Although this positive measure is not incorporated in regulations, in practice it is in force by demand of INDERT, pending a prompt decision by the governing authority.

101. For instalment purchase, buyers generally have up to 10 years to pay. If the purchaser is a female head of household, the period is extended to 15 years.

102. With regard to the misuse of toxic agrochemicals, pesticides, etc., INDERT, after recording the facts, supports or actually makes the complaint to the Secretariat for the Environment (SEAM) or the Environment Prosecution Service. INDERT purchases land in an environmentalist perspective. It works with different social organizations of rural women with the aim of involving them in the process of land reform.

103. Under the Community Development Programme (PRODECO) 500 productive projects have been carried out, for vulnerable groups in three departments of the country, 75 per cent of them in rural areas. A total of 5,106 families benefited, 43 per cent of which have women heads of household.

P. Paragraph 35

1. Measures adopted

104. Since 2006, the Directorate for Gender and Rural Youth, a subsidiary organ of the Directorate-General for Planning of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, has been working on the basis of assessments for rural women’s access to land (departments where the Directorate for Agrarian Extension has an office). The evaluations reflect the low rate of participation by women in all areas of productive life and the low level of public assistance (municipality, department, etc.). On the basis of these assessments the 2009 workplan was prepared and was classified as a budgetary subprogramme under the Ministry. This plan was submitted as the national contribution to the formulation and implementation of the regional gender programme within the framework of the Specialized Meeting on Family Farming (REAF).

105. The Regional Gender Programme seeks to provide impetus to regional coordination and planning and to ensure the effective incorporation of the gender perspective in the family farming sector in MERCOSUR countries. It is proposed to strengthen gender mainstreaming and policies for family farming within MERCOSUR and the institutions competent in this area.

106. The Task Force for Gender Incorporation (ETIG) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock conducted a case study of women’s access to land in Caaguazù department in 2007 and is participating in workplans with the Gender Directorate and the national chapters of REAF, as well as in the study of production chains with gender indicators for analysis.

107. The Tekoporá (Living well) programme of the Secretariat for Social Action under the Office of the President of the Republic has benefited 19,015 households. Results show that 83 per cent of children are registered and 76 per cent of children below the age of 5 have a vaccination booklet. The programme is based on monetary transfers with corresponding responsibilities. The money is allotted to female heads of household with children of school age, and elderly and disabled persons.

108. The project on assistance in policies for women’s participation in rural development and food security in Paraguay approved by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 2009 is being introduced with the aim of contributing to the elaboration and participative implementation of a specific policy for rural women in the context of III PNIO, taking account of the gender perspective and their individual and collective rights. This project is being carried out in conjunction with the National Plan for Food Sovereignty and Security (PLANAL) at the local level. PLANAL is coordinated by the Social Affairs Unit, with substantial funding from AECID. Planning activities have been conducted with the Directorate for Gender and Youth of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock drawing on rural technology.

Q. Paragraph 36

1. Clarification

109. Guaraní is the majority language of the Paraguayan population (it is spoken by 86 per cent, according to the Population and Housing Census 2002). However, 27 per cent of the population (the so-called “Guaraní monolingual group”) speak only Guaraní, while in 2008 the permanent household survey put the figure at 36.4 per cent. More than half of Guaraní-speakers are poor, and 2 out of 10 of them are extremely poor.

2. Measures adopted

110. Since 2008, the Ministry of Education and Culture has been preparing educational materials in all areas of basic school education in Guaraní and Spanish, for use on the basis of the child’s mother tongue. PRIOME (Programme for Equal Educational Opportunities for Women of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Secretariat for Women) is revising contents and figures from a gender perspective. During the period, programmes on literacy, basic education, community development and gender for indigenous women in five ethnic groups in four Paraguayan departments were strengthened (Ministry of Education and Culture/Andrés Bello Convention).

111. The Adult Literacy Department of the Directorate-General for Indigenous School Education is working together with the Directorate-General for Continuing Education, which has literacy programmes for young people and adults, basic bilingual education programmes and distance secondary education programmes. The Centres for Youth and Adult Education opened in indigenous communities are an important means of incorporating women in educational institutions. It should be mentioned that Directorate-General for Indigenous School Education is promoting and strengthening reference to indigenous woman elders and/or sages in the communities, considering their importance for training children in the preservation of ancestral culture. The subject is approached through the Escuela Viva I programme, continuing with Escuela Viva II.

112. The National Programme for Indigenous Peoples (PRONAPI), incorporating and coordinating activities by the executive on behalf of indigenous peoples, was established in 2009. Although early measures have focused on relief, especially because of the emergencies declared in the departments of the Paraguayan Chaco, it is planned that the programme should gradually provide comprehensive care.

113. The Paraguayan Indigenous Institute (INDI) works with indigenous peoples in the framework of the National Constitution, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the ILO Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (No. 169) and, above all, in implementing Act No. 904 of 1981 on the Statute of Indigenous Communities. In recent years, this basic legislation has been supplemented by various legal instruments of great value for the rights of indigenous peoples, such as the Act establishing the Directorate-General for Indigenous School Education, the Presidential Decree establishing PRONAPI, and the Executive Decree establishing the National Human Rights Network.

114. Indigenous women take a full part in their communities, in accordance with their tradition and culture. Indigenous peoples are currently calling for State participation, and the country is in the process of giving effect to these demands by creating a representative structure within INDI for all indigenous peoples in their diversity.

115. As a means of tackling policies and programmes for ethnic peoples, the Third National Plan for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men 2008–2017 proposes a cross-cutting approach permitting the adoption of appropriate measures for indigenous women within each area of the plan’s activity, in a context of cultural diversity consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

116. In 2009, the Directorate-General for Statistics, Surveys and Censuses implemented the “visibility of inequalities among indigenous women, Guaraní-speakers and persons of African origin” project (agreement between the National Coordinating Body for Rural and Indigenous Women (CONAMURI), the Directorate-General for Indigenous School Education and UNIFEM), and it also conducted the indigenous household survey in May/June 2008 in order to obtain labour market and income figures for the indigenous population. It was the first such survey to be applied with these variables, dealing with the main linguistic families that are mostly to be found among residents of rural areas.

117. With regard to child health, the irresponsible use of agrochemicals by landowners gives cause for concern. The indigenous communities of Ypetí, Cerrito and Takuaruzú, Caazapá department, were recently subjected to difficult situations involving the death of children. INDI prepared a report on these cases and lodged a complaint against unknown persons with the Public Prosecutor’s Office. A check by the Secretariat for the Environment established that soybean and wheat producers adjacent to those communities did not have an environmental licence. The INDI report found that the adjacent crops were grown up to the edge of the indigenous communities’ land and that the producers had failed to respect the 100-metre security strip required by law.

R. Paragraph 38

1. Measures adopted

118. Towards the end of the implementation period, the Secretariat for Women called for a national consultation to be held to evaluate the Second National Plan for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men and to formulate recommendations for the Third National Plan for Equal Opportunities.

2. Results achieved

119. Social and institutional analysis of participation by concerned parties in the Second National Plan for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men and its implementation. Although analysis by area of action of the plan could be mentioned, the strengths and weaknesses of the Secretariat for Women are presented in general terms.

120. The Secretariat for Women has established itself as the responsible and legitimate State institution for gender-related matters and has succeeded in opening up new channels for discussion in the State machinery. It has demonstrated considerable ability in managing financial and technical resources in the face of budget cuts and has won the trust of outside cooperation agencies.

121. Since 2004, the permanent staff has been stable and efforts have been made to train human resources. The institutional modernization programme has enabled the Secretariat for Women to strengthen its institutional profile, through definition of the strategies, actions and activities it has to implement in the discharge of its mandate.

122. Although the Secretariat for Women is recognized as the body responsible for the gender issue, cooperation and coordination with other institutions are still difficult. It has not been able to impact on institutions taking decisions central to its operation such as those relating to the general national budget.

123. Under the process of institutional strengthening, consultations are currently under way with a view to establishing the statistical baseline for the Third National Plan for Equal Opportunities, formulating a global action plan within III PNIO, holding a series of training activities for public officials on public and gender policies, and improving cooperation with civil society.

S. Paragraph 39

124. In response to this observation and in accordance with the Committee’s new guidelines for the preparation of country reports, Paraguay has placed its replies to the 2005 concluding observations at the beginning of its sixth periodic report, in order to demonstrate the priority that it attaches to them. The second section of the report provides further information on the implementation of the Convention grouped according to the different parts of the Convention.

125. In addition, page 54 of the shadow report (2005) prepared by civil society contained general comments on Paraguay’s fifth periodic report to which we consider it important to respond better on the occasion of the sixth periodic report. They are as follows:

(a) The locus of the report: The sixth periodic report of the Paraguayan State is submitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic was responsible for coordinating the preparation of the report within the framework of the Inter-Agency Board for follow-up on implementation of the Convention. Information is provided on the activities of State institutions and comments are made on some mechanisms for cooperation with civil society and others which civil society has succeeded in establishing in the State structure;

(b) Specification of the object of the report and the procedure for its preparation: The object is to inform the Committee of the implementation of the Convention by the Paraguayan State, with emphasis on the replies to the Committee’s concluding observations and material to facilitate analysis of progress achieved and continuing obstacles to full implementation;

(c) Information on action taken and progress made in response to the Committee’s recommendations: New gender areas are mentioned and areas with budgetary allocations are identified;

(d) Marshalling of information to permit a better understanding and accurate evaluation of the facts;

(e) Accuracy in regard to the designation and content of articles: The report’s format differs from that of previous reports in its arrangement of information. The first section contains replies to the Committee’s concluding observations of 2005, while the second provides further information on the implementation of the Convention based on the different parts of that instrument. The replies are arranged under “Measures adopted” and “Results achieved”. It should be mentioned that the process of coordinating this report facilitated efforts to update the common core document on the implementation of international treaties, a task entrusted to the Ministry of Justice and Labour. Both reports benefited from the close cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

T. Paragraph 40

126. The following is a list of the main problems that still exist in implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and those directly related to the Convention (Paraguay report 2009):

(a) Although the Beijing Platform for Action and the Convention are mentioned in statements and in a legal context, they have not managed to permeate the technical programmes and strategies carried out by State institutions. Nor are they visibly identified in process indicators, budgets, effects and results;

(b) Equity and equality are still terms used as synonyms or equivalents;

(c) The gender mechanisms face institutional weaknesses which are reflected in the lack of participation in the highest organs of State power and the reduced budget for promoting cross-cutting and decentralization of gender policies;

(d) Women’s participation in public life, decision-making posts and elective office continues to be very limited;

(e) Although statistical data better illustrate the situation of women, they are still insufficient and/or too little used to convey women’s realities, especially those of female heads of household, indigenous women and women living in poverty;

(f) Cases of domestic violence, abuse of women and trafficking in persons persist and are more visible. These scourges condition and distort women’s participation in development;

(g) Public institutions are demonstrating a growing political openness to the incorporation of the gender perspective in their plans and programmes, and the challenges are set out in programmes, budgets and coordination efforts at the highest level;

(h) To become stronger, gender bodies require budgetary and material resources, authority and coordination;

(i) The task of reconciling outside activity with the home is still in its early stages, and women must therefore increase their efforts to develop in the world of work and in community and public life;

(j) Special measures to reduce the gap between men and women, urban and rural women and women of different ethnic and racial groups have won little acceptance and have not followed any strategy;

(k) Government action under policies to combat domestic violence and trafficking in persons ought to be strengthened. The main challenge is to connect the legal and criminal area with the areas of reintegration of victims and prevention;

(l) Measures need to be adopted to facilitate women’s access to science and technology;

(m) The institutional capacity of the Paraguayan State to give effect to the advances made in international commitments, particularly as regards gender cross-cutting, is extremely rudimentary.

U. Paragraph 42

127. In addition to the dissemination activities mentioned earlier, the project on promotion and strategy for applying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women is now being executed. The workshops held in the country’s interior in conjunction with the CEDAW Board have been completed and the materials for dissemination are in the process of being finalized. The Human Rights Network is planning to provide training on the Convention and its Optional Protocol in 2010, geared particularly to public officials.

III. Specific report on implementation of the Convention

128. This second section of the sixth periodic report provides additional information on implementation of the Convention, arranged under its respective parts.

A. Part I of the Convention

129. Efforts to ensure that national legislation implements the concept of equality and non-discrimination as set out in the Convention require further attention, as do efforts to promote the empowerment of women in political life. The Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic is working on important legislative changes in the framework of the Convention and other human rights instruments: a draft National Act on Equality between Women and Men, a draft Comprehensive Act against Violence towards Women, a draft Special Act for Combating and Punishing Trafficking in Persons and amendments to the Labour Code regarding domestic work.

130. There are at least three elements to bear in mind in this process, emerging from the evaluation of PNIO II in the “equality of rights” area: (a) budget: between 2005 and 2008 there were substantial cuts in the budget of the Secretariat for Women, and there is therefore a need for an effort to lobby the executive and the legislature; (b) the promotion and dissemination of international agreements requires more popularized versions; (c) protection and enforceability are low. Not only must machinery for reporting cases of violence against women be promoted, but the State must create economic and social conditions permitting sustained action.

131. Following a rights-based approach, the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic reports on women’s rights, encourages women’s participation in all public and private areas and sectors, and promotes the exercise of citizenship. In 2009 the Secretariat for Women succeeded in obtaining an increase in its budget for 2010, it submitted projects to outside cooperation agencies that were approved and it established joint plans with the Itaipú binational entity. The latter became a member of the Committee for Gender Equity on the Paraguay right bank and is promoting the implementation of productive projects for women and actions to promote a life free of violence and to combat trafficking in persons.

132. The Secretariat for Women has followed cases which it deems emblematic because of the serious human rights violations involved (sexual abuse, abduction of women, domestic violence, trafficking in persons and sexual harassment), and which have reached complaints mechanisms and required considerable efforts on the Secretariat’s part to guarantee the full exercise of the victims’ rights. The Women’s Bureaux of the country’s departmental governments have had the same experience and have had to establish local and regional networks to protect the victims.

133. Presidential Decree No. 2290 of 19 June 2009 established the executive’s Human Rights Network and entrusted its coordination to the Deputy Minister for Justice and Human Rights. The general aim of the Network is to coordinate and carry out executive policies, plans and programmes to improve mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights. With technical support from the United Nations and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the 2010–2011 plan of action was formulated and presented. The plan’s strategic objective No. 3 is to strengthen public machinery for the promotion of gender equality, and it is specifically proposed to set up an action and periodic review mechanism enabling gender issues to be incorporated in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of public policy.

B. Part II of the Convention

134. Further information is provided on the “political participation for gender equality” programme supported by UNIFEM and UNDP, under which the Gender Unit of the High Court of Electoral Justice has been established by Human Resources/Office of the President decision No. 130/2009 of 5 March 2009 and talks between political party leaders have been held.

135. The following conclusions and needs have been identified:

(a) Municipal legislation: given the political prospect of elections in 2010, women candidates for municipal office must have a command of gender-perspective standards;

(b) Electoral system and electoral legislation: further progress is needed on electoral systems and electoral legislation, women’s rights, party systems, legislation on participation quotas, etc. Implementation and increase of the political participation quota for women under the Electoral Code is also required;

(c) Leadership and negotiation: there is a need to strengthen women’s political leadership and negotiating skills;

(d) Knowledge of the work of the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic: information should be disseminated on the role and activities of the Secretariat, its impact and its work at the departmental and municipal levels;

(e) Gender perspective: women politicians should be trained in the gender perspective so that, on reaching positions of authority, they will defend and watch over women’s rights and effectively champion their needs;

(f) Systems of political participation and democracy: there should be more in-depth analysis of political participation practices in the country and the structural factors impeding women’s participation;

(g) Party statutes: there is a need for further study of party statutes and women’s rights and quotas, so that gender policies can be promoted from the political party level.

136. The following statistical tables are added:

Percentage of female and male candidates at the last two national elections, by year and type of election and office

National elections
Presidency and Vice-Presidency
Chamber of Deputies
Governor’s Office
Departmental Board
MERCOSUR Parliament



Percentage of female and male candidates at the last two municipal elections

Mayor’s Office
Municipal Board

Percentage of women elected – National elections

Departmental Councillors
MERCOSUR Parliament members


Percentage of women elected – Municipal elections

Municipal Councillors

137. The following table shows the number of women and men in public and political office following the last two elections:

National elections

Number of women and men elected
Presidency and Vice-Presidency
Chamber of Deputies
Governor’s Office
Departmental Board
MERCOSUR Parliament



Municipal elections

Mayor’s Office
Municipal Boards
1 756
2 904
4 879
1 837
7 331
1 962

138. Among Ministers in the current Government, women occupy the following posts: Minister for Public Health and Social Welfare, Secretary for Children and Adolescents, Secretary for Women, Secretary for Tourism, Secretary for the Public Service, Deputy Minister for Youth and Chief of the National Indigenous Institute. The women concerned are recognized for their record in social matters and are experts in their respective subject areas.

139. As regards the judiciary, to date only one woman has served as a Supreme Court judge. In 2007 a woman became a member of the Council of the Judiciary. The Tribunal for the Prosecution of Judges is formed exclusively of men.

140. In previous years, the National Congress and the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic promoted the Women’s Parliament project, devised and implemented by an NGO called Tiempo Nuevo. The Women’s Parliament enabled women of all political parties and movements to exercise functions in a virtual parliament, act as committee members, analyse draft laws, submit proposals and practise political skills.

141. The Paraguayan State has participated in a number of international mechanisms and bodies: the 21st session of the PAHO Subcommittee on Women, Health and Development, regular sessions of the Executive Committee of the Inter-American Commission of Women (OAS/CIM), Specialized Meetings on Women and Family Farming of MERCOSUR, the Global Summit of Women on “Leading the 21st Century Economy”, meetings of the Presiding Officers of the sessions of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean of ECLAC, a round table on gender equality and access to production factors, courses for female experts on trafficking in persons and sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women.

142. Paraguay has proposed and supported the representation of civil society in meetings of female experts on the “mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women – Convention of Belem do Pará”. As was mentioned earlier, it supports the official candidature of Line Bareiro as a member of the committee of experts under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, it has signed international agreements with the National Women’s Service of Chile and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for the implementation of the project on study of experiences in decentralizing gender policies with a view to enhanced institutional management and it has contributed to the preparation of reports on the implementation of international conventions and platforms: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Beijing Platform and the CIM Action Plan.

143. At the national level, mention may be made of the gender mechanism — the Directorate for Gender and Rural Youth — set up within the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock with a dedicated budget since 2009. Other gender mechanisms without a specific budget are the Gender and Rural Youth Division of the Directorate for Agrarian Extension, the Directorate for the Social Advancement of Working Women of the Ministry of Justice and Labour, the Directorate for Policies of Equality and Inclusion of the Secretariat for the Public Service, the Directorate for Rural Training with a gender focus of the Institute of Rural and Land Development (INDERT), the Gender Unit of the High Court of Electoral Justice and the Gender Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

144. The Ministry of Public Works and Communications has incorporated components of the National Plan for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, through which it is promoting programmes for associative arrangements between women and their participation in district road projects. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has established a workplan for providing technical assistance in the operation of microenterprises and small enterprises run by women in various departments of the country and has carried out training activities at the El Buen Pastor women’s prison. This Ministry has also cooperated in launching the “Buy Paraguay, let us recover female labour” campaign aimed at promoting sales of handicrafts made by women and their purchase by State institutions and private enterprises.

145. In late 2009, a Gender Unit was set up within the Directorate-General for Statistics, Surveys and Censuses with the following main aims: advising on and coordinating the incorporation of a gender perspective in the various data collection operations and in the technical counselling provided to other institutions; providing technical and methodological assistance in applying the gender equality approach in data collection processes and reviewing and adjusting methods for the establishment and consolidation of a statistical information system disaggregated by sex for use in preparing indicators and instruments to monitor and evaluate gender equity programmes that facilitates decision-making.

146. The PARINFO Integrated Data System (Directorate-General for Statistics, Surveys and Censuses/United Nations agreement) presents social and economic indicators constructed from administrative registers and population census estimates and household demographic surveys through a user interface. It offers maps, charts and tables that are easily exportable and provides data disaggregated by sex (men/women), area (urban/rural), level of poverty and ethnic group.

C. Part III of the Convention

147. The National Plan of Education for All 2003–2015 was amended and adjusted between April and July 2006, particularly in respect of National Objective No. 5 (“Reducing disparities between basic school education and secondary education, ensuring equity in the educational service in terms of access, efficiency and quality as between the sexes and giving priority to children with exceptional limitations residing in rural areas and living in poverty”), so as to incorporate Strategy 5.1: “Implementing socio-economic, educational and health policies that reduce gender discrimination”. The Government is studying the National Education Plan 2024, which was drawn up in a process open to State institutions and civil society and incorporates the principle of equality between women and men.

148. The Programme for Equal Educational Opportunities for Women (PRIOME) has the structural support of the Ministry of Education and Culture and impacts on all programmes and curricula of the educational system. Substantial progress has been achieved through the Higher Training Institute, which has provided training to more than 1,400 teachers, and proposals have been submitted for the inclusion of a cross-cutting gender perspective in the initial teacher-training curricula of the Higher Education Institute. These proposals are being analysed with a view to their approval.

149. As regards access to economic resources and employment, since 2009 the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic, in cooperation with the Microsol Foundation and the Health for All Mutual Aid Centre (CAMSAT), has been conducting the programme “individual and group credits for women”. In its first year, the project benefited 158 women in Bañado Sur, Ascunción, and 893 women in the Central department. These activities supplement workplans with the Directorate for Social Providence and Assistance and other projects.

150. The document “Analysis of women’s participation in the Paraguayan economy” (Directorate-General for Statistics, Surveys and Censuses/World Bank agreement) is currently the subject of consultations with State institutional focal points, civil society organizations and international cooperation agencies. Its general aim is to analyse the characteristics and factors determining participation in the labour market by women, and particularly women living in poverty, over a period of at least 10 years, and to recommend measures for the economic empowerment of women that ensure their equitable access to the labour market and promote their social inclusion.

151. Since the Specialized Meeting on Women of MERCOSUR, thematic group meetings have been held on migrant women in prison, trafficking in persons and violence against women. They focus attention on women deprived of their liberty, who have been given courses on disease prevention and alternative ways of generating income. In late 2009 the existence of a “punishment cell” was discovered in the El Buen Pastor women’s prison in the country’s capital, and the cell was demolished at the request of the Secretariat for Women. Currently efforts are being directed towards the establishment of a medical and dental clinic, considering the lack of basic health and education services, in particular.

D. Part IV of the Convention

152. With regard to the implementation of articles 15 and 16, the Secretariat for Women of the Office of the President of the Republic has given priority to spreading knowledge of the rights provided for in the national Constitution and legal order so that they can be invoked before public or judicial institutions, as appropriate. The establishment of the digital community, the introduction of a web page and the preparation, printing and distribution of materials have contributed to this objective. The training given to women and institutional reference points in the capital and the interior of the country has served to create a greater awareness of equality between women and men in society and in the institutions of the Paraguayan State.

153. The Women’s Support Service (SEDAMUR) deals with cases on family rights, providing legal and psychological assistance and institutional support. The Supreme Court has agreed to the establishment of a specific budget for ADN tests requested by women of limited resources.

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