Australia is drawing criticism for allowing women with disabilities to be sterilized against their will if their parents decide to do so, or if a court orders the sterilization.
The United Nations Human Rights Council is reviewing Australia's sterilization policy, the country's treatment of immigrants who seek asylum and the incarceration rates of indigenous people (including those with disabilities), notes The Guardian.
Carolyn Frohmader, CEO of Women with Disabilities Australia, told the news site:
It is very difficult to get accurate data on because it depends on which state and territory it’s in, some have different requirements, some go through guardianship boards, last year there was a sterilization performed on young girl with disability in South Australia but [the state] refused to give me any information.
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We still allow it to occur, we haven’t got any legislation that prohibits it, it can depend on a family court or guardianship tribunals but trying to get access to information is impossible. The other thing we are very concerned about, there’s certainly indications people are taking their children out of the country to have it done.
Frohmader claimed there have been reports of mothers having their disabled 18-year-old daughters tell doctors of their alleged desire to be sterilized, and one 39-year-old woman who was sterilized at seven years old because of a problem with her vision.
“We’ve got a long way to go, at the end of the day is not about how it’s done, how it’s regulated, it’s about the fact it’s an egregious human rights violation and it is recognized as a form of torture, there is no excuse for torture so there is no argument [for the forced sterilization of women with disabilities],” Frohmader added.
110 nations called for Australia to make improvements on its human rights policies on Nov. 9 at the human rights council meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
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"We encourage Australia to enter humane treatment and respect for the human rights of asylum seekers, including those processed offshore in Papua New Guinea and Nauru," a U.S. delegate stated, notes RT.com.
Australia's delegates claim that the country's border policies - offshore detention centers and turning away boats - have saved numerous lives.