Published: Sunday 15 November 1998

Compelling evidence has been found that the Peruvian government health workers used threats, physical coercion, misinformation and promises of food to meet sterilisation quotas among the poor, rural and illiterate women. The issue has rocked the nation and caused an international outcry. At least 15 women undergoing sterilisations have died from complications so far, claim women's rights campaigners. Unauthorised sterilisation carried out under improper and unhygenic conditions have caused these deaths.

The government has denied setting internal targets and financial rewards for zealous medics and has admitted culpability in only six of the 15 known deaths. Only two such cases have reached the court and the state has failed to financially compensate the families of the victims.

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