Tuesday 27 January 2015

US Agency for International Development linked to forced sterilisation camps in India

Fiorella Nash, an SPUC political researcher, has sent me the following harrowing report:
The Population Research Institute (PRI) has published a damning report exposing India’s forced sterilisation camps. In the name of reaching family planning quotas, women in the most populous parts of India have been sterilised in filthy and dangerous conditions. Cases reported by PRI include:
  • Doctors using bicycle pumps to inflate women’s wombs
  • Repeated use of unsterilized needles and other equipment
  • Operations performed without adequate anaesthesia
  • Old school buildings lacking electricity and running water used as operating theatres
  • Little or no aftercare
  • Antibiotics contaminated with rat poison
  • One doctor performing over 80 operations in a couple of hours.
The victims of this aggressive sterilisation campaign were reportedly bribed with small amounts of money while others were forced or deceived, with some only discovering that the operation would leave them infertile when it was too late. Women have died and hundreds of survivors left traumatised and disabled for life by these procedures, but outside India the story continues to be underreported.

USAID has denied any connection with coercive policies, but documents have been unearthed linking USAID with programmes going back as far as the 1990s. According to PRI, USAID not only helped to fund population programmes but offered technical support. The scale of USAID’s underhand dealings includes the setting up of what PRI has described as “an unaccountable agency to operate away from public view and outside the democratic process.” It is hard to see how an organisation that has gone to such lengths to cover its tracks could possibly have acted in innocence.
I will return to this matter in future blogposts - with suggestions for action on the part of concerned readers.

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