Namibian Women Take Government to Court on Charges of Forced Sterilisation

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WINDHOEK - WINDHOEK – A group of twenty Namibian women are taking their government to court over what they say was forced sterilization by state doctors.

"My rights were violated and someone needs to be held accountable," says 38-year-old Anna Shikongo who is one of the women.

Shikongo told IPS that she was sterilized five months ago when she delivered her baby by cesarean section. A doctor told her she would have her tubes tied because she is HIV positive and has what the doctor described as “too many” children.

The ministry of health insists that all procedures were consented to and therefore legal.

The practice first came to light in 2008 when three participants at a workshop of the International Community of Women in Namibia said they were sterilized against their will.

The Legal Assistance Centre in the capital, Windhoek organised meetings in low-income communities to warn HIV-positive women. Several more victims came forward.

Meanwhile in South Africa, the Woman’s Legal Centre has collected 12 cases of what they’re terming coerced sterilization, all in public health facilities.


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