Forced Sterilization in Peru: nevermore

On 28 March, MujeresMundi Women Affairs for Development, launched an awareness campaign about the case of mass sterilizations occurred in Peru during the ’90s. The first step was the screening of ‘Yermas’, a documentary produced by the RTVe (Spain) in Brussels, followed by a roundtable to discuss the issue. We had the collaboration of the Centre de la Culture Andine de Bruxelles.

MujeresMundi just launched a petition in the online platform Change.org. We request the Peruvian state, a reconstruction of the historical memory in the voice of the victims of sterilizations.

In Peru, from 1996 to 2000, corresponding to the second period of the government of Alberto Fujimori; it was implemented the National Program on Reproductive Health and Family Planning in a population control policy aimed at reducing the overall fertility rates. The most recent investigation involved the cases of some 2,000 women. However, statistics and documents show that around 300 000 rural Peruvian women were pressured into being sterilized during this period.

Serious irregularities were reported by government health agencies during its implementation phase. The campaign was marred by human and reproductive rights violations. There are indications that targets were set by government and that doctors and medical workers were given incentives to fill sterilization quotas. As a result of the incentives given to health facilities, there was pressure on health personnel to draw in more patients, which led medical workers to coerce women to obtain their consent.

On January 22th this year, the Ministry of Justice issued a resolution stating that the government would drop charges against government officials. From the moment the government launched its mass sterilization plan (which the Ministry of Health and the Peruvian Health Institute IPSS, carried out), there have been serious irregularities ranging from the lack of a free and informed consent (of both men and women), to human rights violations, and even deaths resulting from surgery complications.

We request the commitment from the Peruvian State to comprehensive repairs, investigation, punishment, justice and guarantees of non-repetition:

1. To investigate the case and to restore victims right’s.

2. The compliance with the agreement between the Peruvian State and the International Court of Human Rights regarding human and reproductive rights.

3. The recognition of the truth of what happened and a reconstruction of a historical memory in the voice of victims, so that mass sterilizations would never happen again.

By all accounts, this was an abusive practice featuring typical and recurring acts of gender, socioeconomic and ethnic discrimination on the part of the Peruvian State and government officials. This practice brought great moral and material damage onto Peruvians; it is a crime for which no statutory limitation can apply, asking only that justice be done.

We are aiming 3 000 signatures, to be delivered to the President of Peru, Mr. Ollanta Humala Tasso.

We request your support to this campaign  and help to put end to the indifference. Join us here. For more information about the case you can read our paper and/or the interview to the journalist, José Guardiola.

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