Media Advisory: Supreme Court of Namibia to Hear Coerced Sterilization Case

Salc : Staff Writer

Windhoek – On Monday 17 March 2014, the Supreme Court of Namibia will hear arguments in Government of the Republic of Namibia v L.M. and Others, a case challenging the coerced sterilisation of three women living with HIV.

“This case has far reaching consequences not only for the three women at the heart of this case, but for the many other HIV-positive women who have told us they were also subjected to coerced sterilisation in Namibia,” said Jennifer Gatsi-Mallet, Director of the Namibian Women’s Health Network, which works with women living with HIV in Namibia.

“This critical case hinges on what information medical personnel need to provide to patients prior to a medical procedure to ensure informed consent is obtained,” said Priti Patel, Deputy Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, which has been involved in the issue. “This case will not only affect women living with HIV, but everyone who undergoes a medical procedure in Namibia.”

What:              Supreme Court of Namibia will hear the case of Government of the Republic of Namibia v L.M. and Other

Where:            Supreme Court of Namibia

When:             17 March 2014

Background:  The case is an appeal against a July 2012 High Court decision which held that all three women were subjected to coerced sterilisation in violation of their fundamental rights and were thus due compensation.

The case was initially filed in 2009 after HIV-positive women’s organisations in Namibia documented dozens of cases of coerced sterilisation of HIV-positive women in public hospitals across Namibia. The case focused on whether the three women gave their informed consent to be sterilised while accessing medical services at a public hospital. In the appeal, the Namibian Government argues that the High Court erred in finding that the women were sterilised without their informed consent.

Further info: 

Jennifer Gatsi Mallet:  +264 61 225 009 (o); +264 81 129 6940 (m); j.gatsi@criaasadc.org

Priti Patel: +27 11 587 5065 (o); +27 83 784 8496 (m); +27 76 808 0505 (m); pritip@salc.org.za

Veronica Kalambi, NWHN, +264 81 7878 326; veronicakalambi@yahoo.com

For live updates from the court: @Follow_SALC

For background on the case: https://www.southernafricalitigationcentre.org/cases/ongoing-cases/namibia-coerced-sterilization-of-hiv-positive-women/