Calling Upon UNCSW And NGO Forum To Oppose China's Forced Sterilizations

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Unbelievable as this may sound the United Nation's Commission On The Status Of Women (UNCSW) and vast majority of Women's Non-Governmental Organizations are ignoring the suffering of women resulting from China's coercive population control program, and the atrocities it inflicts.

A History Of Silence & Evasion

This appalling indifference was on display at the CSW61 Forum in New York (March 2017 ) and also CSW57 (March 2013) which had as a priority the theme of eliminating all violence against women. Yet despite being very aware of the issue a collectively signed declaration by United Nations agencies, while raising a number of examples of violence against women ignored entirely forced sterilizations.


This disregard also surfaced during 2014 at the CSW58 and Beijing +20 meetings. Anyone of integrity compassion and supportive of human rights will share the dismay and concern at the continuing silence of the UNCSW and related Women's NGOs on this clear example of violence against women.

For a number of years successive appeals have been made by Tibettruth (an independent research and lobbying network on Tibet and China) to the United Nations Commission On The Status Of Women (UNCSW) and associated Women's Non-Governmental Organizations that the issue of human rights violations, arising from China's coercive birth control program, be featured at the annual Session of the UNCSW and related NGO Forum, both held in New York.

Such requests have not been received with any positive outcome, and the ongoing abuses suffered by women across China and occupied lands such as Tibet, East Turkestan, Southern Mongolia and Manchuria are continually overlooked by the UNCSW. It is anticipated that a similar evasion and censorship will preside at the forthcoming CSW 63rd Session, March 11 to 22, 2019.

Forced Sterilizations Are A Gross Violation Of Human Rights

We feel this is a tragic oversight, given the nature and extent of atrocities, that impact upon countless women, who have no choice but comply to the dictates of China's draconian population control policies. Any woman in violation of such laws faces a brutally intimidating spiral of coercion including; loss of housing and employment, confiscation of property or possessions, arbitrary arrest, psychological and physical abuse.

“Officials reportedly continued to enforce compliance with population planning targets using methods including heavy fines, detention, forced sterilization, and abortion.Coercive controls imposed on Chinese women and their families, and additional abuses engendered by China’s population and family planning system, violate standards set forth in the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the 1994 Programme of Action of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development”. Source: CECC 2018 Report

According to two February 2018 China Aid Association (China Aid) reports, on January 5, 2018, family planning authorities in Burultoqay (Fuhai) county, Altay (Aletai) district, Ili (Yili) Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, XUAR, detained ethnic Kazakh woman Kuliziya Mogudong for bearing a child in excess of birth quotas and forced her to undergo an abortion at a local hospital. Authorities subsequently released Mogudong after the procedure and confiscated her passport and other legal documents. A week later, Mogudong returned to the hospital due to physical weakness and nervousness. After about 10 days, Mogudong asked to be released, but authorities denied her request, saying she had tuberculosis.. Source: Page 153 2018 Report By CECC

This human rights abuse has one objective, to terrorize women into complying with sterilizations and abortions, and those who resist face the harrowing prospect of forced birth control surgeries.

According to an April 2018 Wall Street Journal report, in or around March 2018, a high school teacher surnamed Sun, who had discovered that she was pregnant with a third child in March in Tangshan municipality, Hebei, contacted the local family planning agency to inquire whether a third child was allowed in light of the central Party and government authorities’ March 2018 restructuring plan to create the new National Health Commission. The local family planning agency reportedly indicated that a third child was still not allowed, and as a government worker, Sun would be fined and probably be dismissed from her job for violating family planning policies. A few days after the phone call, Sun reportedly terminated the pregnancy by swallowing a pill. (Source: Page 154, 2018 Report By CECC)

The scale of violations is staggering and has been noted previously are of a dimension and implementation that Heinrich Himmler could only dream of. In 2010 in one Chinese city alone nearly 10 000 women were targeted for forced sterilizations in a period of two weeks, with relatives of women arrested, houses raided, people detained. According to Amnesty International doctors worked almost 24 hour shifts to ensure the demanded numbers of women sterilized

These medical atrocities grossly violate a woman's right to control over her own body and show no respect for reproductive rights. Issues that many would naturally expect attract the urgent and alarmed attention of the UNCSW. Yet, unbelievably despite numerous appeals; along with the submission of detailed evidence and testimony of these abuses, it has thus far chosen to remain silent and inactive on the plight of women traumatized by China's population control terrorism.

Double-Standards And Failed Principles

We'd hoped this troubling attitude would change at the 57th Session of the UNCSW, which had agreed the theme of the Elimination and Prevention Of All Forms Of Violence Against Women And Girls. Sadly the assembled delegates and organizations involved turned their backs to the suffering of women being forcibly sterilized, be they in occupied Tibet, China, East Turkestan, Uzbekistan, India or Israel.

In light of the obvious violence that China's population program inflicts we had thought that this troubling issue would, at last, be given serious and meaningful examination and discussion with the UNCSW and among Women's NGOs. After all the international agreements and statutes of various bodies; including the United Nations, which those involved with the UNCSW uphold and advocate, are clear in asserting opposition to coercion regarding reproductive freedoms; and define forced sterilizations as constituting violence against women:

Both the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development and 1999 Cairo Plus 5 Conference in New York rule out coercion relating to reproductive rights. Additionally the 1995 UN Women's Conference and NGO Forum recognized such abuse as serious violation of women's human rights and condemned such practices calling for governments to take action. This commitment is reflected in the conference report; the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, both of which received the support and consent of governments.

These documents clearly state governments should;

"Take all appropriate measures to eliminate harmful, medically unnecessary or coercive medical interventions" and that: "Acts of violence against women also include forced sterilization and forced abortion, coercive/forced use of contraceptives" (section D, paragraph 115).

It is also stated that women should have the right to have control over their sexuality and reproductive health, "free of coercion, discrimination and violence".

Clearly forced sterilizations, coerced abortions and sterilizations, in tandem with intrusive monitoring of women's reproductive cycles, constitute acts of discrimination which violate:

Articles 1 and 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Article 16(e) of CEDAW specifically guarantees women the rights:

"to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the . . . means to enable them to exercise these rights."

At the Fourth World UN Conference on Women, the participating governments, including China's, recognized and reaffirmed:

"the right to have control and decide freely and responsibly . . . matters related to . . . Reproductive health, free of coercion . . . and violence."
(Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, para 96.)

To this end, governments agreed to:

"Take all appropriate measures to eliminate . . . coercive medical interventions . ." (para 106(h).)

Having collectively agreed and committed China to the terms and agreements of the Platform for Action and the Beijing Declaration, which rightly defined violence against women as including:

". . . forced sterilization, and forced abortion, coercive/forced use of contraceptives . . " (Ibid-Paragraph 115).

Yet what is the point of these international agreements and commitments if they are ignored, and the violations which they condemn are allowed to continue unopposed?

There's no doubt such gross violations form a harrowing assault upon women's human rights, and are a deeply disturbing example of state violence towards women. This fact, in consideration equally that coercion, and forced sterilizations have been acknowledged as constituting violence against women and a denial of their reproductive rights, surely demands that the subject of forced sterilizations and forced abortions (which form a central element of China's population program) be acknowledged and campaigned against by the UNCSW and Women's NGOs.

Given the violent nature of such abuses, in which women are subject to the most horrendous atrocities we note our disappointment and concern that the UNCSW and associated Women's NGOs appear set to ignore these atrocities at the 63rd Session of the UNCSW. Moreover we see that this issue does not feature at that the parallel Women's NGO Forum. In light of these troubling omissions we request that the public be informed what actions and measures are being taken by the UNCSW and associated Women's NGOs, to oppose, report and eliminate China's forced sterilization and forcible abortion of women.