Carabantes Galleguillos, Mónica v. Chile

Carabantes Galleguillos v. Chile, Case 12.046, Inter-Am. Comm’n H.R., Report No. 33/02, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.117, doc. 1 rev. 1 (2002).
Download Judgment: English
Country: Chile
Region: Americas
Year: 2002
Court: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Health Topics: Sexual and reproductive health
Human Rights: Freedom from discrimination, Right to privacy
Tags: Childbirth, Pregnancy

Applicant, a student in her fifth year of basic education at a subsidized private school in the city of Coquimbo, Chile was expelled during an examination for having appeared seven months pregnant and was informed that her enrollment could not be renewed for the following school year. Her family had filed a complaint with the Ministry of Education and a suit to local courts, alleging that Ms. Galleguillos had been arbitrarily and illegally deprived of her right to equality before the law enshrined in Article 19(2) of the Political Constitution of Chile. The lower courts rejected the recourse for protection finding the actions of the school director legal and confirming that the school’s regulation prohibited students who became pregnant from attending school the following year. A subsequent appeal affirmed this decision.

The petitioners maintained that the State was responsible for violating the following rights guaranteed by the American Convention on Human Rights: the right to have one’s honor respected and one’s dignity recognized (Article 11) and the right to equal protection of the law (Article 24). They also alleged violation of the general obligation to respect and ensure the rights set forth in Article 1(1) and the duty to adopt the domestic legal measures referred to in Article 2 of the aforementioned international instrument.

The parties reached a friendly settlement. The Government of Chile agreed to take steps for the purpose of obtaining the "President of the Republic Scholarship" to cover the costs of higher education for Mrs. Mónica Carabantes Galleguillos and the secondary and higher education of her daughter. The Government agreed to publicize these compensatory measures by means of official communication that would recognize that the rights of Ms. Galleguillos enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights (freedom from arbitrary or abusive interference with her private life and equal protection under the law) were violated. In addition, the Chilean government agreed to alter the existing Education Act to guarantee that the Act would contain provisions that affirmed the rights of nursing mothers and pregnant students access to education. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights approved the friendly settlement agreement.

"15. Based on the foregoing, the IACHR indicated that a concrete sign of the Government of Chile's good will could be the express commitment to complete all of the steps necessary to ensure that Mónica Carabantes would obtain the aforementioned scholarship with effect as from March 2002, irrespective of the signature of a friendly settlement agreement."

"2. Symbolic redress
Proposal: The Government would publicize the compensatory measures by means of an official communication on the matter, to be issued jointly with regional authorities, recognizing that rights of the petitioner enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights–freedom from arbitrary or abusive interference with her private life and equal protection of the law–were violated when her enrollment was not renewed and she was obliged to leave the educational establishment where she was pursuing her studies, "Andrés Bello" school in Coquimbo, a private school subsidized with cofinancing, for the sole reason that she had become pregnant. In addition, steps would be taken to disseminate recent legislation (Law Nº 19,688), amending the Education Act, which contains provisions on the rights of pregnant students or nursing mothers to have access to educational establishments."