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Population Group Praises End of Peruvian Sterilization; Urges Deeds Match Promises

Population Group Praises End of Peruvian Sterilization; Urges Deeds Match Promises

For Immediate Release

February 26, 1998

Contact Scott Weinberg

(540) 622-5240

 FALLS CHURCH, VA – Steven W. Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute (PRI) today praised the Peruvian government for ending its coercive sterilization campaign, underway since 1995. “In the past year, over 100,000 Peruvian women were sterilized, often under duress,” Mosher said. “It is past time that this brutal campaign be brought to a close.”

PRI researcher David Morrison, during a January visit to Peru, uncovered evidence of tubal ligations performed without consent, without informed consent, and in unsanitary conditions by unqualified personnel. He also uncovered evidence that the government was setting targets for sterilizations, and assigning quotas of women to be sterilized to individual doctors. Morrison’s testimony, released during a February 24, 1998, media event at the National Press Club, was further bolstered the presence of three witnesses from Peru, who spoke convincingly on sterilization quotas and coercion in Peru. The witnesses Dr. Hector Chuchon, Mrs. Avelina Nolberto, and Mrs. Victoria Espinoza, testified again the following day before the U.S. House of Representatives.

In the face of this pressure, the government of Peru hastily announced that it was abandoning its mass sterilization campaign, ending the quota system, and monitoring all tubal ligations to ensure that the women involved had freely given their informed consent. “In the end, officials in Lima realized they couldn’t continue to cover up these widespread and continuing human rights violations,” Mosher said. “Too many women and doctors were refusing to keep silent.”

Mosher said that the Population Research Institute will continue to be in the forefront of groups monitoring Peru’s population control program for abuses, and will watch carefully to see that the government keeps its promise to end quotas and coercion. “We believe that all U.S. aid to Peru’s family planning program should be ended until it is clear that these abuses have stopped and will not recur,” Mosher said. “This step is necessary because USAID has, to date, remained unwilling to unequivocally and publicly condemn Peru’s mass sterilization campaign. Private criticism in closed meetings is an unacceptably weak response given the numbers of women who have been injured in this campaign.”

The Institute will also continue to stay in touch with the three witnesses who bravely came forward to tell the truth about what was being done to women in Peru, despite threats of punishment or violence. “Peruvian women and families owe Dr. Chuchon, Mrs. Nolberto, and Mrs. Espinoza a debt of gratitude.”

Mosher also urged the US government and other human rights groups to keep a close watch on the situation in Peru. “Promises mean little unless they are kept,” Mosher said. “We must insure that Peruvian women are no longer targeted in sterilization or other population control campaigns.”

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