Chilean Medical Association says that Mapuche woman who gave birth while handcuffed was a victim of torture.
Lorenza Cayuhan Llebul, the Mapuche woman who gave birth to her daughter last Friday while handcuffed, was the object of acts “ consistent with the United Nations definition of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment”, confirmed a report made by the Chilean Medical Association.
The doctor Enrique Morales Castillo, of the Chilean Medical Association’s Department of Human Rights, together with the public administrator Rosa Villa Fernández and the INDH of Concepción’s Regional Chief Carolina Chang, went to the clinic where the 30-year-old woman could be found, to interview Lorenza Cayuhan, take record of the facts of the case and make up a report with recommendations to the authorities. The experts interview the Mapuche woman, detained since last September, according to the norms established by the so-called Istanbul Protocol, which sets out the procedures and international standards for the complication of information concerning torture and other degrading treatment.
Lorenza Cayuhan’s first person account was interrupted multiple times by the fragile emotional state in which she finds herself, because of the threat – that has now dissipated – of being separated from her child, and because of the effects of the degrading treatment that she endured during the entire process of labor, due to police staff members. A decision issued by the Court of Appeal in Concepción will allow the woman to remain with her newly born child in the Sanatorio Alemán Clinic.
Apparently, from the moment that the woman was taken out of prison in Arauco where she is serving her prison sentence, she either had chains around her ankles or was tied up to the stretcher on which she was transported due to her advanced stage of pregnancy. The police officers observed how she was unclothes for medical exams and one of her custodians entered the operating room where her Caesarean section was performed. “ There he was, looking the entire time”, the woman said.
The Chilean Medical Association’s report recommends that the acts, which Lorenza Cayuhan experienced, are investigated and cleared up by all of the institutions involved, at the judicial, ethical and human rights levels. The report adds that in accordance with the international treaties that protect indigenous peoples, the transgressions that this Mapuche woman, her newborn daughter and her family as well as her Mahuidanche community and the whole of the Mapuche People faced, “constitute an intolerable denigration“.
As far as the reports that follow, the INDH is requesting the tribunals that the Regional Hospital of Concepción submits the hospital’s clinical record in relation to Lorenza Cayuhan..
According to the INDH’s Regional Chief Carolina Chang, who has personally put forward this case, “the situation is sufficiently grave due to the threat against her dignity, against her reproductive rights, by having been a victim of obstetric violence as well as the threat against her integrity, by having been subjected to torture, due to the use of handcuffs being an exceptional measure which is not applicable to pregnant women”.
Chang confirms that in this case there has been a violation of the ILO Convention 169 – ratified by Chile – which establishes “that the family and community to which Cayuhan belongs should have been informed about the state of her health and should have participated in her labor in coherence with the Mapuche world view.