First Cases Head to Court Soon

MEDIA ADVISORY
For Immediate Release
Windhoek, 20 May 2010

Three women living with HIV who are seeking compensation for the alleged sterilision without their informed consent are scheduled to have their cases heard in the High Court of Namibia on June 1 to 4.

In a show of solidarity with the women, a coalition of civil society organisations from across southern Africa are planning to lead several events to coincide with the dates of the court case. Hospital sit-ins, a mass march of support, a petition hand-over and demonstrations at Namibian embassies in Zambia and South Africa are intended.

The three cases are the first of 15 that will be heard on the merits. The women are asking for compensation for this alleged violation of their human rights.

In 2007, reports emerged that women living with HIV seeking medical care were allegedly subjected to sterilisation without their knowledge or informed consent in state hospitals.

The campaign partners call on all Namibians and civil society organisations to join the planned events to end the alleged involuntary sterilisation of women living with HIV in Namibia. More information about the various activities will be released as the court dates draw closer.

Campaign Partners:
Legal Assistance Centre, Namibia Women’s Health Network, AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa, Women’s Solidarity Namibia, Women’s Leadership Centre, Sister Namibia, Southern Africa Litigation Centre, and Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.

High Court to hear six cases 1-4 June

The High Court has set down dates to hear the cases of three women who were allegedly coercively sterilized in Namibia.  The cases will be heard from 1-4 June.  Check out our website for campaign activities throughout the world during the four days and for regular updates from the courtroom.  It would be great to have all of you join the campaign activities or create your own to show your support!

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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Case delayed

The three cases which were scheduled to start today have been delayed until 24 November. But regardless, our voices were heard when we marched from Katutura Hospital to the High Court. Stay tuned for the pictures from the march.

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.