Peru reopens forced sterlizations case

Peruvian prosecutors have reopened an investigation into evidence that thousands of women were forcibly sterilized during the 1990-2000 government of Alberto Fujimori, a practice rights groups say was official state policy and constituted a crime against humanity.

Rights groups say they have proof more than 2,000 Peruvian women were forcibly sterilized under Fujimori. But they believe the number is closer to 200,000. Most of the victims lived in rural areas, were poor and barely educated or illiterate.

The goal was to reduce poverty by lowering the birth rate among the poor, who at the time accounted for one in two Peruvians, the groups say.

“It was a premeditated development policy because it was done fundamentally, in areas of extreme poverty, rural and Andean,” said Francisco Soberon, executive director of APRODEH, Peru’s leading human rights organization.

It was also racist because it chiefly targeted indigenous Quechua speakers, Soberon said.

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