Three HIV-positive women are suing the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services for sterilization procedures that were performed on them without their informed consent. The advocacy group representing these women, the Legal Assistance Centre, has documented 15 cases of women who have been sterilized as a result of being HIV positive and who were not given a full explanation of the procedure before it was carried out. On their website, the LAC advocates that “Every patient, including a woman living with HIV, has the right to decide whether he or she wishes to undergo any operation of any kind… Sterilization without informed consent violates a woman’s constitutional, regional and internationally protected rights.” In early June, 300 people marched in the capital, Windhoek, in support of the women bringing this case to court, many of them bearing signs reading “Why did you sterilize me?”
Ongoing court proceedings began in late 2009. The women are requesting 1mil Namibian dollars (US $130,000) in compensation from the Health Ministry.
“Namibia HIV women sue over forced sterilization,” BBC News, 1 June 2010; “Women Living with HIV Allegedly Sterilised Without Their Informed Consent,” Legal Assistance Centre, Namibia, www.lac.org.na.