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Response to MisterP (Reply #9)

Fri May 16, 2014, 12:54 AM

10. The pattern is becoming clearer and clearer, now. Peru sterilized poor women.

They apparently had NO choice whatsoever, when the government had them in its sights.

This article is from earlier this year, but it has made it to D.U. several years ago, when D.U.'er "rabs" was here who had personal awareness of it since he was in South America a lot. He was horrified and sickened about it, and wrote about it in his posts at D.U.

Here's a recent article:

Forced sterilization and impunity in Peru
Mariella Sala 10 February 2014

Between 1995-2000, 300,000 women in Peru, mostly poor indigenous peasants who did not speak Spanish, were forcibly sterilized by the Fujimori government. The Peruvian feminist movement has been trying to bring Fujimori and his officials to trial for this crime against humanity ever since. Last month the case was thrown out for a second time.

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In 1995, then-President Alberto Fujimori met with Peruvian feminists at the UN Women’s Conference in Beijing and announced he would liberalize Peru’s strict laws on contraception by allowing women to have their tubes tied without getting their husbands’ permission. For Peruvian feminists, who had been fighting for more reproductive rights against powerful opposition from the Catholic Church and Opus Dei, this was a victory. They had no idea that the Fujimori government would use the new law to forcibly sterilize three hundred thousand indigenous women in the Andes between 1995 - 2000.

There are many historical instances of forced sterilization, which is currently being practised on HIV-positive women in Namibia, for purposes of population control in Uzbekistan, and against the Roma in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is among the offenses listed as crimes against humanity by the Rome Statute of 2005: “Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity.”

In the case of Peru, because most of the peasant women who were sterilized only spoke Quechua or Aymara, and many of them did not know how to name what had happened to their bodies even in their own language, it took a while for the story to reach women’s human rights advocates in Lima. In 1996, Giulia Tamayo from CLADEM, a Latin American feminist lawyers’ network, began investigating the crime and in 1999 she published a report, Nada Personal – A human’s right report about how the sterilization program has injured thousands of women. At the same time Hilaria Supa, an indigenous leader of the peasant women’s federation in the district of Anta, began to work with MAM Fundacional (Movimiento Amplio de Mujeres) and CLADEM to investigate the issue. Supa, who is fluent in both Spanish and Quechua, discovered that hundreds of women in her community had been sterilized against their wills, and founded the Asociación de Mujeres Afectadas por las Esterilizaciones Forzadas de Anta (AMAEF), organizing survivors from the communities and districts of Anta and Cusco.

They were eventually able to gather testimony documenting 2047 forced sterilizations, most of which took place between1996 -1998. CLADEM found that, in most Andean communities, the Government Health Service had rounded up all the women with children and sterilized them without their consent. Some had died and a huge number had suffered adverse health consequences, their lives devastated. These sterilizations were carried out by a program ironically called Voluntary Surgical Contraception Program, under which physicians were given monthly sterilization quotas and health workers were trained to “capture” as many women for sterilization as possible.

More:
http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/mariella-sala/forced-sterilization-and-impunity-in-peru

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This needs deeper understanding than it would seem at first reading.

Thank you for your insights.

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