50th session of the Human Rights Council
Item 3: Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
Monday 20 June 2022
Thank you, President.
The Federation makes this statement on behalf of Her Rights Initiative, the Women’s Legal Centre and the Sexual Rights Initiative.
We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s report and analysis on the health consequences of violence and on the ways in which violence and oppression permeate health systems and society as a whole.
As discussed in our submission, racist, patriarchal, ableist and capitalist norms still determine whose bodily autonomy is expendable and whose reproduction must be regulated. Whether they manifest in preventable maternal deaths, forced sterilization, denial of contraception, or through the criminalization of sex work and abortion, systems of oppression continue governing women’s bodies.
Across the world, from South Africa to Canada, Czechia, Peru, Namibia, Thailand, Kenya or Spain, State-sanctioned forced sterilization policies continue to target marginalized women and persons on the basis of a range of grounds such as race, class, caste, disability, gender identity, sex characteristics, HIV or migration status, as well as persons deprived of their liberty.
It is time for States to take this seriously and end this practice once and for all. We call on States to end all laws, policies and practices mandating or allowing forced sterilization, to ensure justice, redress and dignity for all victims and survivors, and to provide access to health services for victims. These must include treatment of physical complications of sterilizations and comprehensive physical and mental health services.