LIMA, August 6, 2004 ( – While the United Nations Convention on Human Rights does not refer to abortion, at least according to official lines at the U.N., a U.N. emissary to Peru is nonetheless urging the predominantly Catholic and legislatively pro-life country to allow abortion.  United Nations Special Rapporteur Paul Hunt, appointed by the UN Commission on Human Rights to “help States and others promote and protect the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,” is to prepare a 25-page report on his June 6-15 mission to Peru.  The full report will be presented to the United Nations in April next year. has obtained a sneak preview of his report in the form of a summary of his provisional recommendations.  The preview was arranged to influence the Second National Health Conference in Lima which takes place this month.

Hunt states in his report that “Punitive provisions against women who undergo abortions, as well as service providers, should be removed.”

Of note, a controversy erupted in June during Hunt’s visit when the Peruvian Health Minister announced a program to allow the abortifacient morning after pill.  The decision sparked controversy since earlier court decisions in the country have noted such pills violate the constitution’s protection of the unborn.  Moreover, while current Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti lamely claimed that the pills were not abortifacient but contraceptives, Former Health Minister Fernando Carbone said, “Let’s tell the truth: it’s a form of chemical abortion.”  Rather than diplomatically avoid the controversy, Hunt praised Mazzetti’s plan.  Hunt’s report says the “Special Rapporteur welcomes recent initiatives of the Minister of Health such as the national plan on emergency contraception and stresses the importance of the full implementation of the plan.”  jhw