Embed video

Victims of Peru’s forced sterilisation programme seeking justice

As president of Peru in the 1990s, Alberto Fujimori introduced a programme to provide Peruvians with free vasectomies and tubal ligations as part of a comprehensive social development policy. Billed as a strategy to fight poverty and empower women, the surgical contraception was purportedly offered on a strictly voluntary basis. However, thousands of Peruvian women tell a very different story.

Related: Grandmothers search for the babies of the military dictatorship victims

From 1993-1999, more than 300,000 men and women were sterilised in Peru. Most were indigenous peasants from the poorest villages.  Now, many women are coming forward with horror stories, describing how they were abducted and forcibly sterilized or awoke after giving birth to learn their baby was dead and their tubes had been tied. A great number still suffer from severe physical side effects caused by these procedures to this day.

Related: An ancient tradition of force-feeding girls in Mauritania

Fujimori’s defenders say the numbers given for forced sterilisations are grossly exaggerated. However, investigators have now uncovered documents showing Peru’s Public Health Ministry set sterilisation quotas and doctors were remunerated for meeting them.Where ever the truth lies, one thing can’t be denied: the pain the forcibly sterilised women feel to this day is very real.