As the 63rd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women closes today and women activists and NGOs hug their last goodbyes to New York City, we’re disappointed to report that once again the defenders of women’s rights have remained deafiningly silent on the atrocities of China’s forced sterilizations.
There’s been much self-congratulation about progressing gender equality, equal participation, girl’s empowerment, women in leadership and solidarity against child-marriage and female-genital mutilation. But the hot topic of a ‘feminist vision’ has suffered an acute myopia concerning China’s state engineered violence against women, which its coercive population control program still inflicts.
After years lobbying and informing @UN_CSW @UN_Women and associated women’s NGOs on this issue we are not surprized that they continue to ignore the plight of their sisters suffering under the harrowing dictates of the Chinese regime. Their record on this matter is a shameful betrayal of women’s human rights and seriously erodes, to anyone of normal intelligence and integrity, any residual moral authority or credibility they may have.
We have through our experience and activism on this subject come to a conclusion that these bodies do not care about the court of public opinion. Nor are they vexed by the staggering hypocrisy at the heart of their callous indifference to those whose lives have been devastated as a result of being forcibly sterilized. While demanding action across a range of rights for women, they choose denial, silence, delusion and evasion as a response to this issue. Why is this appalling duplicity operating you may wonder. How can it be that women who announce themselves dedicated to rights and equality remain unmoved by the disturbing reality of forced sterilizations?
It’s our view that these organizations operate and possess characteristics often defining a cultic mindset. There’s an exclusive ideology, a dominating elite and compliant devotees. An elevation of an enshrined philosophy above all other considerations, protected by an emphatic and consistent rejection of anything regarded as not conforming to the approved dogma.
Does this concerned sisterhood regard women’s freedom-of-choice, and opportunity to educational and career advancement, restricted and disadvantaged by having children? Does that explain their selective definition of reproductive rights as being the provision of safe and free access to contraception and related education? Those are of course important and justified resources yet a woman surely has the right not to be forcibly sterilized, an action that violently denies any chance of reproduction.
They choose to offer no comment on that, which begs the question; are these organizations holding to the unspoken view that women ‘unburdened’ by pregnancy and children are more likely to realize the ultimate goals of the much trumpeted feminist vision? If so it may well serve to account for their reticence to condemn or oppose forced sterilizations, atrocities which are tolerated and perceived as liberating women from the confinements of motherhood?
Our position on this is one of respecting all human rights, we’re not interested in arguments for or against abortion, nor do we subscribe to any side of the pro or anti debate. Unlike the participants of the UNCSW and NGO Forum we regard forced sterilizations as a disturbing example of violence against women, constituting a physical and psychological disfigurement and denying women the reproductive right to have a child.