Mental health group claims around 100 people, mostly women, forcibly sterilised in Spain every year

Image of Teresa May at the Fifth Eastern Partnership Summit. Credit: Drop of Light/Shutterstock

AROUND 100 people with mental health issues, mostly women, are sterilised every year in Spain despite the UN having condemned the practice, according to a campaign group.

The Spanish Mental Health Confederation (CERMI) claimed sterilisations were being carried out without the consent or knowledge of patients in violation of their human rights.

The procedures are legal under Spanish law due to those affected having being declared mentally incapacitated but are not permitted under international agreements, CERMI added.

Nel A. Gonzalez Zapico, president of CERMI, said the procedures were being justified as being in the interests of the affected women but were really a violation of human rights.

“All women, and of course those who have some mental health problem, should be able to exercise their right to decide about their own body without anyone doing it for them,” Gonzalez Zapico said.

CERMI estimates that there were some 93 forced sterilisations in Spain in 2017 based on available government data.

The UN has condemned the practice and said that it could be classed as torture.

Irene Muñoz Escandell, a legal advisor to CERMI, said: “In Spain this practice continues to be legal despite it violating the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.”

The organisation launched its #OurHealthOurRights campaign today (Friday) to mark International Women’s Day.

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