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Peru: Debate about indigenous women and forced sterilizations

June 7 2017
Next Friday 9th June our partner ONAMIAP will hold an open debate about their work on access to justice and reparation for the indigenous women victims of forced sterilizations in Peru.

Today, almost 20 years after the implementation of the so-called Reproductive Health and Family Planning Program of the dictatorial government of Alberto Fujimori, indigenous women in Peru keep fighting for justice and reparation.

From 1996 to 2000 the government of President Alberto Fujimori implemented across Peru and in the context of a national family planning programme an unprecedented sterilization programme targeting indigenous and peasant women as well as men. It is estimated that some 314,600 women and 24,580 men were sterilized.

Although the authorities claimed that they had obtained the written consent of the victims, it has emerged that the vast majority of the women were unable to read what they were signing and did not understand what they were agreeing to. It has also emerged that the sterilized women suffered serious and multiple consequences: they were abandoned by their husbands, stigmatized by their communities, and many suffered from a number of health problems that left them unable to work.

The issue remained hidden for many years. Feeling shame, few women organized around it and human rights organizations long tended to focus their attention on the atrocities committed during the internal armed conflict. Only now do the conditions seem to be in place for systematic work to be conducted on the issue of these sterilizations.

Investigations have also revealed the methods (blackmail, threats, house-to-house visits, financial incentives, etc.) used to meet the numerical targets for tubal ligations. The Latin American and Caribbean Committee for Women’s Rights (CLADEM) has concluded that only 10% of the women that were sterilized over the period in question had actually given their “genuine consent”.

Open Debate in Lima with the participation of UNSR Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

The National Organization of Indigenous Andean and Amazonian Women of Peru (ONAMIAP) has proposed to provide strategies and support to the search for justice and reparation of women victims of this state policy, which has violated the human rights of thousands of women, mostly indigenous, in a systematic and generalised way.

At the debate, women victims of forced sterilization will present their testimonies to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, in the debate Forced Sterilizations: Indigenous women in search of truth, justice and reparation, organised by ONAMIAP.

The event will also be attended by civil society organizations and indigenous peoples who have been accompanying the victims in the search for truth, justice and reparation. It is also expected the participation of a representative of the Registry of Victims of Forced Sterilization (REVIESFO), which actions have been carried out from the Ministry of Justice to respond to the demand of indigenous women.

During the debate there will be the national presentation of the video Forced Sterilizations: A Path to Justice, produced by ONAMIAP, with the collaboration and support of IWGIA, which shows the testimonies of the victims of the "family planning program".

Registration (Spanish):

When: Friday 9th June 2017 from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm

Where: Hotel Costa del Sol Wyndham (Av. Salaverry 3060, Magdalena, Lima, Perú)