Peruvian Attorney General’s Office launched Oct. 21 an investigation into the forced sterilization of thousands of women, mostly indigenous women from the country’s highlands, during the 1990-2000 government of Alberto Fujimori.
The cases were reopened after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a branch of the Organization of American States, found that crimes against humanity might have been committed, meaning that the crimes cannot be prescribed.
According to official reports, some 300,000 people were forcibly sterilized during Fujimori’s government. The ex-president is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for authorizing death squad killings and for various acts of corruption and abuse of power.
Eighteen of the documented forced sterilizations ended in death. The campaign was aimed at reducing poverty in the country’s highlands.
Human rights groups cheered the decision by Attorney General José Peláez Bardales to reopen the cases.
We “urge state authorities to provide the economic, human and technical resources for the investigations to be effective, since these acts were part of a systematic and generalized practice that violated the rights of women, especially the poorest ones in Peru,” said the Pro-Human Rights Association, on behalf of themselves and other nongovernmental organizations including the Study Center for the Defense of Women’s Rights, or Demus, the Center for Justice and International Law and the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights.