HIV-positive women sue Kenya government and NGOs over sterilisationPublished on Thursday, 11 December 2014 10:59
Médecins sans Frontières (France) and Marie Stopes International named in lawsuit claiming violation of human, constitutional and reproductive rights
Five HIV-positive women in Kenya are suing the government and two top international NGOs, claiming they were sterilised without their consent.
The group this week filed a legal action against parties including the Kenyan health ministry, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and Marie Stopes International.
Meanwhile, activists protested in the capital, Nairobi, arguing that forced sterilisation is still widespread and should be be banned. The women marched from the high court to Uhuru Park with T-shirts that said: “Enforced and coerced sterilisation of women living with HIV”.
Lawyer Allan Maleche said his five clients were sterilised in health facilities in Nairobi county through a procedure known as bilateral tubal ligation. The various circumstances allegedly included: threats to withhold food portions and baby formula milk; inducement with the promise to pay medical and maternity fees; lack of provision of essential information to enable the women to make informed decisions; lack of provision of choices of other forms of family planning methods for the women.
Maleche said that one of the women was given two discount vouchers to reduce the cost of delivering her baby in hospital: one was for a caesarian but she did not realise the other was for tubal ligation.
“They have been psychologically affected, they have found it difficult when their spouse has left them for another spouse who can have more children,” the lawyer said on Thursday. “There is depression because something so valuable in their lives had been taken away from them. Their spouses wanted more children.”
MSF and Marie Stopes International did not directly carry out sterilisations, Maleche added, but allegedly referred the women to government hospitals where the operations were performed.
Source: The Guardian