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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Apr 27, 2018, 07:41 PM

1. Earlier article: Forced sterilization and impunity in Peru

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.

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.


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