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12.10.08 - International human rights law protects the rights of women to have access to voluntary sterilization services free of coercion, discrimination, and violence. In April 2004, the Center prepared a legal memorandum on the illegality of coercive sterilization under international human rights law, and an analysis of possible remedial measures to address such abuses using comparative examples from other countries that have confronted such abuses.
Filing date: April 2004
Plaintiff(s): Ramakant Rai, Health Watch UP Bihar HRLN
Center Attorney(s): Melissa Upreti
Partners: Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC) and NGOs that filed fact-finding reports, Human Rights Law Network (HRLN)
Summary: Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) submitted the memorandum in support of its petition to the Indian Supreme Court, alleging coercion and abusive practices resulting from poor quality of care in government-run sterilization camps and failure to comply with national guidelines on the performance of sterilization, which establish mandatory procedures for obtaining informed consent. In March 2005, the Supreme Court ordered state governments to take immediate steps to regulate health-care providers who perform sterilization procedures, and to compensate women who suffer complications due to sub-standard practices and the relatives of victims who may die from botched operations.