Rwanda: Reproductive health bill violates rights

Inclusion International Condemns Compulsory Sterilization And HIV Testing Of People With Disabilities In Rwanda As An Abhorrent Violation Of Human Rights

July 6, 2009

(Toronto) – Inclusion International (II), a federation of 200 family-based organizations advocating for the human rights of people with intellectual disabilities worldwide, calls on the international community to oppose a reproductive health bill introduced in the Rwandan Parliament.

The proposed reproductive health bill includes provisions that would impose forced sterilization and mandatory HIV testing on people with intellectual disabilities. According to the newly introduced bill drafted by the parliamentary committee, physicians would be granted the right to test an “incapacitated” person without
their consent and then disclose the testing results to their official guardian.

These provisions would be in direct violation of the Rwandan governments ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Forced sterilization would not only violate the rights of persons with disabilities but is also regarded as a crime against humanity by the International Criminal Court. The mandatory testing of HIV and disclosure of results would infringe on privacy rights and lead to abuse.

People with intellectual disabilities are among the most marginalized and vulnerable groups in our societies, measures such as those proposed by Rwanda despite their international obligations under the Convention, serve to dehumanize and devalue people.

Diane Richler, President of Inclusion International, “People with intellectual disabilities all over the world continue to be victims of human rights abuses. The CRPD was conceived to protect against these kinds of abuses by governments and society. We must build awareness of human rights and call on governments to respect and promote those rights.”

For More Information Contact:
Connie Laurin- Bowie
Director, Policy and Programmes
Inclusion International
c/o Canadian Association for Community Living
4700 Keele St., York University, Kinsman Building
Toronto, Ontario, CANADA, M3J 1P3
Phone: (416) 661-9611 ext.203, Fax: (416)661-5701

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