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Forced Sterilisation and Disability: a briefing paper
In many countries of the world,
Other people, like relatives or carers, may make them
With this operation, women will never be able to have children.
We call this operation sterilisation.
Some organisations worked together to do a document about this.
This document explains why these operations must not happen
Women With Disabilities (WWDA), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Open Society Foundations and the International Disability Alliance (IDA) worked together to produce a briefing paper on forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities. The paper presents various international human rights standards, which prohibit forced sterilisation, offering several recommendations for improvements in laws, policies and practices.
“In many countries, the practice of forced sterilisation continues to be debated and justified by governments, legal, medical and other professionals, family members and carers as being in the “best interests” of women and girls with disabilities”.
Cases of forced sterilisation of women with disabilities are often brought to light; recently, in France 5 women with disabilities were succumbed to sterilisation against their will, provoking the justified reaction of many human rights organisations. Arguments for their “best interests” often serve as an excuse for the violation of their fundamental human rights. The briefing paper underlines that such arguments are related to social factors, such as the absence or failure of measures to protect again sexual abuse and exploitation of women and girls with disabilities and the absence of services which would support the decision of women with disabilities to become mothers.
Through elaboration on various international human rights standards, the briefing paper results in the following recommendations:
1. The free and informed consent of the woman herself is a requirement for sterilisation.
2. Women with disabilities must be provided with information that sterilisation is a permanent procedure and that there are alternative options.
3. Sterilisation for prevention of future pregnancy does not constitute a medical emergency and does not justify departures of the general principles of free and informed consent.
4. Sterilisation should not be performed on a child.
5. Women and girls with disabilities, including through their representative organisations, must be included in the evaluation and development of legislation and other measures designed to ensure the employment of all their rights, including sexual and reproductive rights and the right to found a family, on an equal basis with other women and girls.
The briefing paper was developed as part of the campaign Stop Torture in Health Care, which promotes government accountability for all forms of torture and ill-treatment in health settings, including those most egregious and pervasive abuses condoned on the grounds of medicine, public health, or social order. A lot of health and human rights organisations have joined the campaign to put an end to the abuse of individuals in health settings. The Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care is committed to a world in which all people are free from torture and abuse as part of their fundamental human rights. More information is available in the website of the campaign: www.stoptortureinhealthcare.org.
To read the whole briefing paper, click here.