Welcome to e-include, the e-journal of Inclusion Europe.
Human Rights Groups denounce forced sterilization of 5 women with disabilities in France
In France, 5 women with disabilities had an operation
With this operation, these 5 women will never be able
This 5 women complained to the European Court.
Several organisations explained to the European Court
Forced sterilisation represents a serious violation of multiple human rights, while cases of this kind are still present even in the developed European world. Recently in France, five women with intellectual disabilities were succumbed to sterilisations against their will. Urged by the cases of these five women, a coalition of human rights groups has denounced the practice of forced sterilization.
On the 16th of August, the Centre for Reproductive Rights, European Disability Forum, Interights, International Disability Alliance and Mental Disability Advocacy Center, submitted written comments to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Gauer and Others v. France (Application no 61521/08) brought by five women with intellectual disabilities who were forcibly sterilised.
More precisely, applying international human rights law, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the groups argue that “forced sterilisation is a violation of the right to be free from torture and ill-treatment, to respect for private and family life, to found a family, and not least to the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of gender and disability. In addition, the French government failed to ensure that the five women – whose legal capacity has been restricted – were able to bring legal proceedings, in violation of their right of access to justice. In emphasising that forced sterilisation is impermissible, the groups also highlighted that informed consent is fundamental to the exercise of individual rights.
“A positive decision from the Court in this important case would have a tremendous impact on reinforcing the autonomy of women with disabilities with respect to their reproductive health,” states the President of the European Disability Forum, Yannis Vardakastanis, who sees these 5 cases as “an opportunity for the Court to bring attention to the fact that States are under an obligation to take measures to prevent such violations and to investigate and prosecute them to the fullest extent when they do occur.”
The message derived from the cases of these 5 women is clear and double. Firstly, strict measures must be taken in order to protect women from such violates of their fundamental rights. Secondly, women with disabilities should no way be excluded from these measures with their disability being used as an excuse; their potential exemption for such violations constitutes a discrimination against them, giving the idea that they are not faced as having the same rights as anyone else.
To read the written comments of the human rights groups, click here.