Report on ending forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities

14 February 2018

EDF and CERMI Women’s Foundation have released a comprehensive report which raises awareness on how to prevent and end forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities. It explains the negative consequences of forced sterilisation on the enjoyment of all human rights for all women and girls with disabilities. It highlights the close relationship between this practice and the deprivation of legal capacity, and describes the current situation in Europe and beyond. Finally, it gives an overview of the current human rights standards and jurisprudence on the topic.

This joint report of the CERMI Women’s Foundation and the European Disability Forum was adopted by the EDF General Assembly in Madrid, Spain, in May 2017 and presented at a public hearing in the European Parliament on the 5th of December 2017.

Please click here to download the Report on ending forced sterilisation


On February 6th 2018, the joint CERMI Women’s Foundation (FCM in Spanish) and EDF report was presented at the headquarters of the Spanish Bar Association (association of Spanish lawyers).   The presentation was chaired by Pilar Villarino, Executive Director of the Spanish Committee of Representatives of Persons with Disabilities (CERMI in Spanish), and other speakers from CERMI. Forced sterilisation was also condemned publicly by many leaders of organisations of persons with disabilities. The presentation was bought to a close by Borja Fanjul, Director General for disability policies at the Spanish Ministry for Health, Social Services and Equality.   During the presentation,FCM denounced forced sterilisation, based on the figures made public by the General Council of the Spanish Judiciary covering the years 2005-2016, which amount to more than 1000 women and girls with disabilities in just over one decade. These figures shocked many of those attending.

The presentation was a great success and CERMI achieved their aim of spreading the message to a large part of the Spanish public. They had great coverage in the media, including articles in many of the leading newspapers and television and radio reports.

As a result, just one day after the presentation the mixed group in the Spanish parliament (comprised of members of parliament from several smaller parties) presented a non-binding initiative calling on the chamber to urge the Spanish government to adopt all necessary measures to outlaw the forced sterilisation of people with disabilities.   More precisely, the initiative calls on the government to do the following:   - improve transparency around data on the forced sterilisation of people with disabilities; - push forward new regulations required to ban the forced sterilisation of persons with disabilities and ensure their rights are upheld, including their sexual and reproductive rights, in order to meet the commitments Spain has made internationally to protect the rights of persons with disabilities; - adopt measures to ensure reparations, where possible, for those people, mostly women and girls, who have been subjected to forced sterilisation.   Due to the great success of the event, we invite our members to organise similar events in their country, to present the report and make this information known to the general public, the authorities and the press, and to denounce this violation of our sexual and reproductive rights.

Please conatact EDF Human Rights Coordinator, An-Sofie Leenkecht if you wish to organise such event.

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