Everyday we are learning about more and more people who have been subject to forced and coerced sterilization in Canada. The truth is now undeniable: forced sterilization is not a thing of the past.
Forced sterilization is disproportionally inflicted on Indigenous and women living with a disability. It is systemic, racist, colonial, ableist and, according to the United Nations (UN), tantamount to acts of torture and genocide.
Force sterilization is revealing a massive problem within the Canadian health system: healthcare workers are failing to understand and obtain consent.
In December 2018 we submitted a report to the UN’s Committee Against Torture to condemn forced sterilization and demand action.
Our intervention alongside other Indigenous and human rights allies led to the UN officially recognizing that sterilizing Indigenous women without their consent is an act of torture. Canada received a strong directive to end the practice.
Action Canada has since been pushing the Canadian federal government to take up the UN recommendation and respond swiftly and effectively to this problem. In January, as a direct result of our efforts, the House of Commons Health Committee committed to conduct a study on Forced Sterilization in Canada. In April, Action Canada appeared as witnesses at the Senate Human Rights Committee for their study on forced sterilization of Indigenous women.
Action Canada continues to work with allies and activists on the ground to strategize, raise awareness, and demand action. We developed alongside Amnesty International and the Native Women’s Association of Canada a joint statement that was signed by dozens of human rights and equity seeking organizations across Canada.
In May, Action Canada met with Peruvian activist Maria Ysobel Cedano Garcia, for a strategy session about how to work with international activists against forced sterilization in all regions, including Canada.