Landmark Ruling in Nambia on HIV+ve Women Sterilized


 

Johannesburg– In a landmark judgment, the High Court in Windhoek found today that the Namibian government had coercively sterilised three HIV-positive women in violation of their basic rights.

“This decision is a significant victory for HIV positive women in Namibia,” said Nicole Fritz, the Executive Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC). “This ruling affirms not only the rights of HIV positive women but also of all women to access their sexual and reproductive rights.”

The case, H.N. and Others v Government of the Republic of Namibia involved three HIV-positive women who sought to access pre-natal services at public hospitals in Namibia. The three women ranged in age from mid-20s to mid-40s when they were sterilised. All three were sterilised without their informed consent while accessing such services.

Ruling in the women’s favour, the High Court held that obtaining consent from women when they were in severe pain or in labour did not constitute informed consent. The Court further found that failure to obtain the three women’s informed consent violated the women’s rights under common law.

The women will be awarded damages, although the amount is still to be decided.

“These three cases represent only the tip of the iceberg because numerous HIV positive women have come forward alleging they were similarly subjected to coerced sterilisation at public hospitals in Namibia,” said Fritz.

Dozens of other cases have been documented throughout Namibia of HIV positive women being subjected to coerced sterilisation. However, despite significant evidence of the widespread practice throughout Namibia, little action has been taken to address this problem.

“This decision is the first step in ensuring that no other women will be coercively sterilised in public hospitals in Namibia,” said Priti Patel, SALC Deputy Director. “Now the government must meaningfully investigate all the other cases to ensure justice for every woman who has been coercively sterilised.”

For more information

Nicole Fritz, +27 82 600 1028, nicolef@salc.org.za

Priti Patel, +1 347 526 0831, pritip@salc.org.za

Nyasha Chingore, +27 83 784 8496, nyashac@salc.org.za

 

Statement by Pakistani civil society on Human Rights violation in Myanmar


Myanmar

Myanmar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Recent weeks have witnessed horrific events in Myanmar. Mobs have targeted the Rohingya population, resulting in the brutal murder of scores of Rohingya and displacement of tens of thousands of children, women, and men. Appallingly, the Myanmar military leadership has labelled Rohingyas as an ethnic and religious minority not deserving of full protection as citizens. Neighbouring Bangladesh behaves most callously, forcing thousands to live in hiding or squalid refugee settlements along the border.

This situation is intolerable for all those committed to universal human rights, including secure lives and prosperous livelihoods.

We demand of the people and government of Myanmar to abide by the international consensus on the rights of people. Having suffered under oppressive, military rule for decades, the people of Myanmar well know of the terror afflicted by the absence of democracy. Only through full and sincere protection of all residents as equal citizens would Myanmar commit adherence to desperately sought democracy.

We urge the winner of a Noble Peace Prize, the venerated Aung San Suu Ski to assume leadership of moves towards an end of violence, and to create conditions for a safe return of refugees to their homes in Myanmar. Her voice is heard around the world, and hence compels her to take bold steps immediately, which must include indiscriminating state and social protection of the Rohingya community.

We urge the Buddhist community around the world to remind the people of Myanmar of the priority given to peace and respect of all nature in the exemplary teachings of Buddha.

We demand of Pakistan as well as other SAARC and ASEAN governments to forcefully remind the government of Myanmar that the inhuman violence sharply retards the progress towards democracy for its people and is therefore unacceptable for full inclusion in regional cooperation.

We demand of the people and government of Bangladesh to provide full refugee status to those compelled to flee Myanmar. Security of adequate food and humane shelter must be the first priority in sincere protection of refugees. SAARC and ASEAN countries must consider their obligation to assist Bangladesh in supporting refugees.

Endorsed by:
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
Pakistan Peace Coalition
Karamat Ali, Executive Director, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER)
B. M. Kutty
Aly Ercelan
Adam Malik
Qamrul Hasan
Lala Hasan Pathan
Iqbal Alv;
Mahnaz Rahman (Aurat Foundation and Women Action Forum)
Latif Mughal
Ziaur Rahman (journalist)
Syed Moazzam Ali
Muneer Memon
Jawaid Ashraf Hussain, former Chief Secretary of Sindh;
Shaheen Salahuddin (TV anchorperson, Indus TV)
Qazi Javed

Released by:
Shujauddin Qureshi
Senior Research Associate
Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER)
Gulshan-e-Maymar, Karachi-75340
Ph: +(92-21) 36351145-7
Fax: +(92-21) 36350345
Cell: +(92)300-3929788
URL: www.piler.org.pk

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