The BBC has been told by doctors that Uzbekistan is running a secret programme to sterilise women – and has talked to women sterilised without their knowledge or consent.
Adolat has striking looks, a quiet voice and a secret that she finds deeply shameful.
She knows what happened is not her fault, but she cannot help feeling guilty about it.
Adolat comes from Uzbekistan, where life centres around children and a big family is the definition of personal success. Adolat thinks of herself as a failure.
“What am I after what happened to me?” she says as her hand strokes her daughter’s hair – the girl whose birth changed Adolat’s life.
“I always dreamed of having four – two daughters and two sons – but after my second daughter I couldn’t get pregnant,” she says
Forced Sterilization of Women in Uzbekistan examines an alleged government sterilization program and reveals a pattern of ongoing, systematic forced sterilizations that have affected tens of thousands of women and have intensified in recent years.
The report’s testimonial evidence indicates that for the past 13 years the Uzbek government has carried out a sterilization program that is a centrally regulated policy with the apparent aim of controlling population growth.
The report’s main conclusions include:
- In Uzbekistan, all women of reproductive age who have delivered two or more children are potential targets of the program.
- Medical professionals are under pressure to perform the sterilizations as the authoritarian government holds doctors and nurses responsible for fulfilling quotas set by health administrators.
- While the international community cannot be held responsible for the forced sterilization program, its close cooperation with officials in the sphere of reproductive health and its reluctance to challenge the government’s denials about forced sterilization have implicitly allowed the government to continue the practice.