Peru’s Association of Women Affected by Forced Sterilizations (AMPAEF) announced that this Tuesday they will hold a sit-in at the headquarters of the Palace of Justice, in the capital Lima, to continue demanding “truth, justice, and reparations” in their case.
A representation of women affected by a program that was implemented during the neoliberal government of Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) will participate in the protest, through which hundreds of thousands of women in situations of poverty and vulnerability were forced to deprive themselves of their rights, and their possibility of conceiving children.
This plan was publicly presented as the Reproductive Health and Family Planning Program, and was implemented by the Ministry of Health between 1996 and 2001.
Although the Government alleged that the tubal ligation operations were performed with the consent of the patients, thousands of women have reported that they were forced, blackmailed or tricked into having the operation. This motivated the Prosecutor’s Office to open a judicial process.
According to AMPAEF, the protesters who will gather this Tuesday in front of the Palace of Justice come from the provinces of Piura and Cajamarca (north), Cusco, Ayacucho and Huancavelica (center), as well as San Martín and Ucayali (in the Peruvian Amazon region).
The organization states that defense lawyers continue to carry out maneuvers to delay the start of a trial in the case, in which former President Fujimori and several former health ministers (Eduardo Yong, Marino Costa and Alejandro Aguinaga) are among the accused. They are charged also with causing serious and fatal injuries.
Fujimori’s defender, César Nakazaki, seeks the statute of limitations to be applied to the crime, and alleges that more than 15 years have elapsed since the execution of the acts in question.
However, the Prosecutor’s Office considers that the forced sterilizations violated human rights, so the statute does not apply.
After an extensive investigation, the prosecutors presented 182 items of evidence revealing the guilt of the accused, which referred to situations experienced by 1,312 victims, out of the total number of victims [over 270,000 were sterilized in Peru from 1996 to 2001].
Alberto Fujimori is the father of the current presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori. Representatives of AMPAEF also denounced the intention of Keiko Fujimori to, if elected, pardon her father, who is already serving a 25-year sentence for crimes against humanity and corruption.
The victims have also expressed their determination to dialogue with the leftist presidential candidate, Pedro Castillo, to demand that he guarantee justice and reparations.
According to Peruvian media, the forced sterilization program also affected about 22,000 men. Most of those affected came from indigenous Quechua communities.
Featured image: Esperanza Huayama was deceived and threatened before having her tubes tied against her will. Photo: AFP.
Translation: Walter Lippmann for CubaNews, Orinoco Tribune