Archive for Sunday, July 18, 2010

Uzbek women accuse state of mass sterilizations

Government program trying to prevent overpopulation

July 18, 2010


— Saodat Rakhimbayeva says she wishes she had died with her newborn baby.

The 24-year-old housewife had a cesarean section in March and gave birth to Ibrohim, a premature boy who died three days later.

Then came a further devastating blow: She learned that the surgeon had removed part of her uterus during the operation, making her sterile. The doctor told her the hysterectomy was necessary to remove a potentially cancerous cyst, while she believes he sterilized her as part of a state campaign to reduce birthrates.

“He never asked for my approval, never ran any checks, just mutilated me as if I were a mute animal,” the pale and fragile Rakhimbayeva said through tears while sitting at a fly-infested cafe in this central Uzbek city. “I should have just died with Ibrohim.”

According to rights groups, victims and health officials, Rakhimbayeva is one of hundreds of Uzbek women who have been surgically sterilized without their knowledge or consent in a program designed to prevent overpopulation from fueling unrest.

Human rights advocates and doctors say autocratic President Islam Karimov this year ramped up a sterilization campaign he initiated in the late 1990s. In a decree issued in February, the Health Ministry ordered all medical facilities to “strengthen control over the medical examination of women of childbearing age.”

The decree also said that “surgical contraception should be provided free of charge” to women who volunteer for the procedure.

It did not specifically mandate sterilizations, but critics allege that doctors have come under direct pressure from the government to perform them: “The order comes from the very top,” said Khaitboy Yakubov, head of the Najot human rights group in Uzbekistan.

Uzbek authorities ignored numerous requests by The Associated Press to comment on the issue.

Most Western media organizations have been driven from the country, and government officials face serious reprisals for contacts with foreign journalists. However, the AP was able to interview several doctors, sterilized women and a former health official, some on condition of anonymity.

Sterilization campaign

This Central Asian nation of 27 million is the size of California or Iraq, and population density in areas such as the fertile Ferghana Valley is among the world’s highest.

Rights groups say the government is dealing with poverty, unemployment and severe economic and environmental problems that have triggered an exodus of Uzbek labor migrants to Russia and other countries.

Heightening the government’s fears is the specter of legions of jobless men in predominantly Muslim Uzbekistan succumbing to the lure of Islamic radical groups with ties to Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida.

Uzbekistan is not alone in coming under allegations of using sterilizations to fight population growth: Authorities in China’s Guangdong Province were accused by Amnesty International in April of carrying out coerced sterilizations to meet family planning goals. But no other country is known to use that method as a government policy.

Uzbekistan once had one of the Soviet Union’s highest birthrates, four to five children per woman, and Communist authorities even handed out medals to “heroine” mothers of six or more. Young army conscripts from Uzbekistan and the four other Central Asian republics made up for a declining ethnic Russian population.

Now, as authorities try to unravel that legacy, the birthrate has dropped to about 2.3 children per woman — still higher than the rate of 2.1 that demographers consider sufficient to replenish a falling population.

The sterilization campaign involves thousands of government-employed medical doctors and nurses who urge women of childbearing age, especially those with two or more children, to have hysterectomies or fallopian tube ligations, said Sukhrobjon Ismoilov of the Expert Working Group, an independent think tank based in the capital, Tashkent.

In 2007, the U.N. Committee Against Torture reported a “large number” of cases of forced sterilization and removal of reproductive organs in Uzbek women, often after cesarean sections. Some women were abandoned by their husbands as a result, it said.


geekin_topekan 5 years, 4 months ago

Meanwhile back here in the US, it is estimated that between 25%-40% of Native American women were sterilized by threat or coercion between 1970 and 1976 using federal dollars. The same federal dollars that repubs make arses of themselves over abortion issues.

A 14 year old girl was admitted to a hospital for what was supposed to be a routine tonsillectomy and the doctor tied her tubes without knowledge or consent of the child or her parents. Another woman visited her tribal health center to find relief for migraines. She was told that they were caused by "woman problems" and that a hysterectomy would be the best solution. She eventually died of brain cancer.

The latest wave of gross violation appears to be coming from Mexico. Clinics in Omaha Nebraska have reported that a number of the illegals that they see have been sterilized or have had IUDs in place without the woman's knowledge.

Read Sally Torpy's "Native American Women and Sterilization: On the Trail Of Tears in the 1970's". This stuff does not simply happen in unpronounceable countries. Although it would be convenient to believe that it does. Maybe that's what a good repub is supposed to believe.

independant1 5 years, 4 months ago

Everything is worser here than anywhere. We're so bad, so evil. We should be more like the Vietnamese and Cubans then things would really be swell.

akt2 5 years, 4 months ago

Surgical intervention is not a bad thing. Look around and you will soon see that there are many who don't deserve children. Let alone several. They don't qualify as parents. They are simply irresponsible breeders. Too much effort to take a pill everyday. In this country the government will pay for it all. Prenatal care, maternity care, newborn care and then they will continue on with the monthly checks and food stamps. It continues to the next generation. In some cases mandatory sterilization could help more than hurt. We don't think twice about spaying and neutering pets.

seriouscat 5 years, 4 months ago

Yes let's do! And let's put akt2 and other people who arrogantly equate other humans with animals in charge of deciding who gets forcibly sterilized!


geekin_topekan 5 years, 4 months ago

"Look around and you will soon see that there are many who don't deserve children. Let alone several. They don't qualify as parents." ++++ WHat akt2 describes is eugenics. Another great American contribution, one that the Nazi party subscribed to. This American Pseudoscience. (Is this the culture they speak of when people are supposed to assimilate into Americans when they come here?) claims the idea that the human race is divided into the racially superior whites and all others which should be exterminated. That's right, Hitler's camps were American in origin.

Centerville 5 years, 4 months ago

We've worked ourselves into quite a fix: an HHS Secretary who built her political career on infanticide, a 'health czar' who can hardly wait to decide who gets what, and a First Lady whose only contribution, so far, is to pretend that her nagging has the force of law.

independant1 5 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like they have government provided healthcare in Uzbekistan.

In Russia when a woman gives birth, the doctor has ultimate authority of when and how the baby is delivered. The silver lining is there is an incentive to progress labor and not complain else they'll knock you out with drugs and take baby their way. Doesn't sound like Uzbekistan hasa changed much since the CCCP days.

Reminds me of, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."

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