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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 June, 2003, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Peru sterilisation inquiry reopens
Peruvian women near Pisac
Thousands of women suffered psychological problems

A Peruvian parliamentary commission has reopened an investigation into the forced sterilisation of more than 300,000 rural Peruvian women allegedly authorised by former President Alberto Fujimori.

The original investigation against Mr Fujimori, who has been in Japan since November 2000, was set aside earlier this year for lack of evidence.

Peru's Human Rights Commission claims mass sterilisations were carried out negligently between 1995 and 2000 in a bid to reduce poverty in the poorest parts of Peru.

Mr Fujimori currently faces charges of treason, corruption and authorising death squads in Peru, but he cannot be tried until he is extradited from Tokyo, where he is protected by his Japanese citizenship.

According to the commission, more than 320,000 women were subjected to the Voluntary Contraception Surgery in the latter half of Mr Fujimori's presidency.

Psychological impact

The operations were promoted in a "deceitful" publicity campaign of leaflets, posters and radio advertisements promising "happiness and well-being", a government report found last year.

It said there was inadequate evaluation before surgery and little after-care. Procedures were also found to have been negligent, with less than half being carried out with a proper anaesthetist.

Alberto Fujimori
Fujimori faces several allegations over his presidency

Prime Minister Luis Solari, who supports the investigation, says thousands of women lived in fear of the sterilisers, who faced the sack if they did not perform enough sterilisations.

The Human Rights Commission has found that 18 women died from complications and thousands more suffered psychological problems as a direct result of the sterilisations.

Certain parts of Peru have also seen a demographical drop, leaving an older population and the economic disadvantages which result from fewer people able to earn a living.


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