Uzbekistan: Government Using Forced Sterilization to Control Population Growth

An investigative report by BBC correspondent Natalia Antelava found that, beginning in 1999, the Uzbek government has been carrying out a centrally-regulated program to sterilize women of reproductive age, with the apparent goal of controlling population growth.  The report found that the program has affected tens of thousands of women across Uzbekistan and has intensified in recent years. Comprehensive testimonial evidence, including a survey of 54 doctors, indicates that the program takes place “across the country’s medical establishment” and pressures doctors and nurses to meet procedure quotas set by health administrators.

While all women of reproductive age who have delivered two or more children are targets of the program, those most likely to be sterilized are women with lower socio-economic status and members of ethnic minority groups.

The report also examines the impact of international organizations and whether their cooperation with the Uzbek government in the sphere of reproductive health might have “implicitly encouraged” the government to continue its policy of forced sterilization.

Compiled from:  Antelava, Natalia, Forced Sterilization of Women in Uzbekistan, Open Society Foundations (December 2013)