Cases, Solidarity Action Grabbing International Attention

Namibia HIV women sue over forced sterilisation
BBC – 01 June 2010
Three women in Namibia are suing the state for allegedly being sterilised without their informed consent after being diagnosed as HIV positive.

3 Namibian women with HIV say they were sterilized
The Associated Press – 02 June 2010
Supporters of three HIV-positive women in Namibia who say they were sterilized without their consent held protests to support the women’s decision to sue the government, a legal aid group said Wednesday.

Forced Sterilisation trial Begins in Namibia
RFI – 01 June 2010
Three landmark trials have begun in the Namibian capital Windhoek after a group of women said they were sterilised by the state without their consent.The women went in for Hiv tests in two public hospitals and, after testing positive, they were allegedly sterilised without their full and informed consent.

What now?

Women and baby marching for an end to forced sterilization

Women and baby marching for an end to forced sterilization

As we have already noted, the case has been postponed until 24 November. In November the lawyers will be arguing about a specific legal matter. Namely, the government is claiming that according to a specific law, the Public Services Act, anyone suing the government has to bring their case to court within a year of the action happening. So in our case they are saying that the women had to file their case in court within a year of having been sterilized. But we are saying that that only applies to public employees suing the government and not to people alleging human rights and constitutional violations. And that for cases like ours we should have three years to bring the case. I know this sounds like legal technicalities but this has tremendous implications for not only our case but for anyone in Namibia who wants to hold the government to account for violating their human and constitutional rights.

Despite the delay in the case, we are going to continue with raising the issue and our campaign to ensure that the coerced sterilization of HIV positive women ends. Keep checking back regularly as we plan further events

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March and case to start today

The case of three HIV positive women who were allegedly sterilized without their consent at public hospitals in Namibia is scheduled to start in the Namibian High Court this morning.  The cases are currently to end on the 23 October.  It is unclear whether the case will in fact start this morning but we will keep you updated.

Before the case starts, the campaign has organized a march.  The details can be found here.

Why “End Forced Sterilisation” Campaign?

HIV positive women in Namibia are being coercively sterilized at public hospitals. We need people to know that this is happening in Namibia and we need to put a stop to the practice with our voices.

Background

The International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS began documenting this practice in 2008 following a series of workshops they held with young HIV positive women. At the workshop, women started speaking about how in one case a woman went to the hospital to give birth and while being wheeled into the operation theatre, she was asked to sign a stack of papers among them a consent form for sterilization. There are cases documented from as far back as 2001 and yet no one realized this was happening until now. If you want to read more about the nature and extent of the practice and how it was documented click here.

The Legal Assistance Centre with assistance from the ICW and its partners are taking the case of three such women to court in Namibia. At least fifteen women who have been allegedly coercively sterilized have sued the Government of Namibia for a violation of their constitutional rights to dignity, be free from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, found a family and be free from discrimination. On 20 October three of those women will have their day in court.

What you can do
But that is not the end for us. We cannot stand by and stop until the practice has ended and no more HIV positive women in Namibia are sterilized illegally. We hope you will come to this website to get the latest information regarding the case and the issue and show your support by signing our petition, leaving a note of support for the women in the cases, coming to the events we have organized, and sharing this site with your friends.