Justice For Peruvian Women Forced Into Sterilization
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Help bring justice for the hundreds of thousands of women who were forcibly sterilized in Peru from 1990 to 2000.
Between the years of 1990 and 2000, terrible atrocities were committed against women in Peru. President at the time Alberto Fujimori was at the heart of a campaign to sterilize women as a form of extreme birth control.
More than 270,000 Indigenous Peruvian women and 22,000 men women say they were forcibly sterilized under a family planning program launched to promote, prevent, cure, and rehabilitate reproductive health to the highest quality1.
These were euphemisms for what Fujimori, and past leaders of Peru saw as a problem — higher birth rates among Indigenous people than Peruvians of European descent. And since Indigenous women of Quechua descent had the highest poverty rates in Peru, they were the government's main target for "family planning2."
Most of the women targeted were poor and from impoverished areas, and therefore had little access to family planning resources or help that could otherwise protect them from the forced sterilization. It's clear that President Fujimori preyed on these women. Many times, the women couldn't even choose whether they wanted the procedure done or not.
Rudecinda Quilla is one of those whose statement forms part of the legal evidence. She says she was 14 when she tried to get issued a birth certificate for her fourth child in 1996. Doctors told her the only way to get the certificate would be to agree to have tubal ligation3.
Quilla refused. She says she was forced onto a hospital bed, her hands and feet tied while she was injected with an anesthetic. She woke up hours later, after doctors sterilized her. Staff told her that she would "never breed like an animal again."
State prosecutors first started probing allegations of forced sterilizations in 2003, but since then three separate investigations have been opened and subsequently shelved on the grounds of insufficient evidence. Now, after more than two and a half decades, a judge is finally considering evidence in the case4.
The judge will hear arguments by a prosecutor and lawyers representing the victims and those accused of wrongdoing, who include Fujimori and former health ministers. He will then decide whether to go ahead with a criminal probe.
This terrible assault on human rights must be addressed. Even after fleeing the country over corruption charges and being imprisoned in Chile for human rights violations, the aging Fujimori hasn't been punished for these crimes nor have the women been given assistance5.
Sign the petition below and demand justice for the Indigenous Peruvians who were forcibly sterilized.
- Ministeruio De Salud, (1996-2000), "Programa De Salud Reproductiva Y Planification Familiar."
- Ñusta Carranza Ko, The Conversation (3 March 2021), "Forcibly sterilized during Fujimori dictatorship, thousands of Peruvian women demand justice."
- BBC (1 March 2021), "Peru forced sterilisations case reaches key stage."
- Anastasia Moloney, Reuters (8 January 2021), "Haunted by forced sterilizations, Peruvian women pin hopes on court hearing."
- Lucien Chauvin, JusticeInfo.net, Fondation Hirondelle (15 April 2021), "Forced Sterilization in Peru: After Decades in Limbo, There Will Finally Be a Decision."
Dear UN representatives:
From 1990 to 2000, hundreds of thousands of women in Peru experienced forced sterilizations on behalf of Peru's president at the time Alberto Fujimori.
Most of the women targeted were poor and from impoverished areas, and therefore had little access to family planning resources or help that could otherwise protect them from the forced sterilization.
The sterilizations were a part of Fujimori's aggressive family planning plan, aimed to cut birth rates significantly.
Over this period of time, sterilizations were performed by unqualified people and often without anesthetics. As a result, many of the women suffered permanent physical and emotional stress. Some have since died.
The UN still has not taken steps to rectify this situation — whether it be holding Fujimori responsible or providing assistance to the affected women.
It's your job to make sure this injustice does not go unpunished. Stand up for human rights.