Rwanda to Sterilize 700,000 Men, PRI Pledges to “Work Tirelessly” Against It


Steven W. Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute (PRI), expressed outrage today at a clear instance of U.S. tax dollars being used to aid a coercive campaign to sterilize 700,000 Rwandan men in 3 years.

Front Royal, VA, 02/09/11 — Steven W. Mosher, president of
the Population Research Institute (PRI), expressed outrage today at
a clear instance of U.S. tax dollars being used to aid a coercive
campaign to sterilize 700,000 Rwandan men in 3 years. The program
is being carried out under the active influence of at least two
USAID-funded special interest groups: Intrahealth and Family Health
International. Mosher vowed that PRI would “do everything in
its power” to expose and halt the use of U.S. taxpayer funds
on this campaign against the Rwandan people.

According to the BBC and Rwandan news outlets, the Rwandan
government is introducing this campaign on the heels of a
large-scale effort to circumcise men (a procedure which allegedly
“protects against” HIV/AIDS infection). However, as the
New Times reports, the real reason circumcision was included was
simply because “it allows us get to the men’s reproductive
system and in the process we advise them on condom use and
vasectomy.”

Not only this, but back in 2008, health officials informed the
BBC that these “circumcision campaigns” would be
practiced first on “the new born and young men in
universities, the army and police.” This is because, while
many Rwandans balk at the idea of being sterilized,
“correspondents say many in the armed forces will regard it
as an order” even though it will be “nominally
voluntary.”

“This amounts to coercion,” says Steven Mosher.
“First of all, saying that circumcision ‘protects
against AIDS’ is an abuse of semantics, as circumcision
doesn’t provide a barrier against anything. Secondly, if it will be
regarded as an order, it doesn’t matter if it actually is one or
not. The men will be circumcised/sterilized because they feel that
they must, or risk punitive measures.”

These programs are not being rolled out by the Rwandan
government alone, but represent a concerted push by the U.S.
government and international health groups. Intrahealth, for one,
proudly advertises that it is conducting surveys of men who have
received vasectomies already, and will use “lessons learned
to inform recommendations regarding the scale-up of vasectomy
services in other districts as requested by the Maternal and Child
Health Task Force of the Ministry of Health.”

(http://www.intrahealth.org/page/assessment-of-vasectomy-client-satisfaction-conducted-in-rwanda)

Family Health International, for its part, is “supporting
the Rwandan MOH to increase access to quality vasectomy services in
Rwanda by training physicians across the
country …”

(http://www.fhi.org/en/Research/Projects/Progress/Countries/Rwanda.htm).

“The Rwandan government claims that it wants men to
‘go willingly’ for sterilization,” says Steven
Mosher. “But they also have a hard quota — 700,000
— which they are looking to fill. In our experience on this
issue, every single time a sterilization campaign has a hard target
and a timetable attached to it, it inevitably involves coercion and
abusive expansion, just as night follows day.”

“Not only that,” Mosher continues, “but these
groups are funded by USAID, which receives tax dollars from the
United States. Our own laws make it illegal for our tax monies to
fund forced abortion or sterilization, and campaigns that involve
quotas have always been considered coercive.”

“We at PRI urge the Rwandan government to end their
involvement with such unethical groups and end this campaign before
it begins. The unforseen consequences on the Rwandan family and
economy will be far-reaching, and the suffering is too much to ask
of an already-traumatized population who deserve every chance to
heal,” Mosher concludes. “We will work to expose the
coercion and corruption inherent in the U.S. Partner organizations
of this campaign, and then we will bring the evidence before
officials in Washington DC. We’ve found that the best way to end
campaigns like this is to hit them at the source — by cutting
off their funding.”

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