HIV women sue over forced sterilization

June 1, 2010 at 7:49 AM

WINDHOEK, Namibia, June 1 (UPI) -- Three Namibian women are suing their country's health ministry for sterilizing them without their informed consent, their lawyers say.

The three, all diagnosed as HIV positive, are seeking $130,000 in compensation, the BBC reported Tuesday.

Legal Assistance Center, the rights group that is representing the women, says it has documented 15 cases of HIV sterilizations in Namibian hospitals since 2008.

Spokesman Amon Ngavetene says that when women who are HIV-positive go to hospitals they are sometimes advised to undergo sterilization without being given a clear idea of what the procedure involves.

"We want a health system based on human rights which promotes equality for all," Ngavetene says.

So far there has been no official comment on the lawsuit from the heath ministry.

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