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Mon Nov 9, 2015, 05:16 PM

Peru Victims Of Forced Sterilization Registry Is Not 'Political Calculation' Against Opposition, Gov

Peru Victims Of Forced Sterilization Registry Is Not 'Political Calculation' Against Opposition, Government Says

By Michelle Mark @michelleamark m.mark@ibtimes.com on November 09 2015 2:27 PM EST

Following the Peruvian governmentís announcement Friday it would create a national registry for the victims of forced sterilization in the 1990s, President Ollanta Humala's administration sought to dispel accusations that the move was made for political gain, TeleSUR English reported. Humala is facing off in the 2016 elections against popular opponent Keiko Fujimori, whose father was president during the era in which the sterilizations took place.

Between 1996 and 2000, an estimated 350,000 people -- mostly impoverished indigenous women living in rural areas -- underwent forced sterilization under a program introduced by then-President Alberto Fujimori, who is now in prison for human rights abuses. Fujimori had argued for the sterilization program as a fix to eliminating poverty through lowering the countryís birthrate.

The Humala administration has said the new registry is meant to provide a legal framework to help implement services such as legal assistance, psychological treatment and holistic health for the victims. Both victims and political opponents in Peruís Congress have said Humala used this issue in the countryís last election cycle to attack Keiko Fujimori during a presidential debate and then did little to pursue justice for the victims after winning the election.

. . .

Activists have called the forced sterilizations one of Peruís biggest human rights scandals. Esperanza Huayama, a victim of forced sterilization, told Reuters that government health officials in the 1990s had gone door to door in her farming community, enticing women to come with them to a clinic for free medical treatment, where they were instead anesthetized and sterilized. Huayama was three months pregnant at the time. She said her baby was born dead weeks after the surgery.


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