The authorities in Uzbekistan have a robust policy on birth control, but evidence is emerging that in pursuit of a smaller population they are abusing women's rights by conducting hysterectomies and implanting contraceptive devices against their will.
IWPR has interviewed healthcare experts and mothers who accuse the authorities of using coercive family planning measures that are often brutal in their implementation, and that allow for neither consultation nor alternative options.
Although the methods are shrouded in secrecy, there is mounting evidence that this is a coherent state policy rather than misguided imposition of voluntary methods.
According to one doctor, there is a secret order from the health ministry dating from 2000 to reduce the birth rate among women in rural areas. One of the methods recommended for achieving this goal is to perform hysterectomies on young women who have already given birth.
As well as hysterectomies, the other main practice is the implanting of intrauterine devices, IUD (commonly known as "the coil") immediately after a mother has given birth. Again, both mothers and health professionals say this is often done without consent.
The way both types of intervention are carried out leads to heightened health risks, medical experts say.
Based in London, we are an informal group dedicated to supporting democracy and human rights throughout
the former Soviet Union. Our aims are:
Informing the public about issues in this area that receive little coverage in the Western media.
Staging peaceful demonstrations and letter-writing campaigns in support of specific causes.
Supporting and publicising nonviolent pro-democracy groups throughout the region.
Encouraging European and American involvement.
Support the Belarusian cartoonists
Third Way, the Belarusian organisation whose members are being prosecuted for producing satirical cartoons about Lukashenka,
have set up a web page where you can make a donation via PayPal. The group urgently
need money for their legal defence and operating expenses. Please give what you can today! Read more
We are continuing to focus our efforts on the Belarusian prisoner of conscience Mikhail Marinich.
We are campaigning for him to receive proper medical treatment, to be permitted to see his family,
and ultimately to be released from prison pending a review of his case. You can help by distributing
our factsheets and letters.
Members of these groups have joined our blog to share their views and experiences.