October 28, 2020

United Nations should investigate claims of forced sterilization

Under the UN definition, “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group” is a case of genocide. What do hysterectomies do? They prevent women from ever being able to give birth. Sounds like a clear cut case of genocide to me. 

As if the state of immigration in the United States could get any worse, a whistleblower blew the doors wide open for claims of genocide against Latinx women.

The whistleblower, Dawn Wooten, is a nurse that worked at a Georgia Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility for three years.  She reported a lack of containment and worry for COVID-19, as well as an alarming rate of hysterectomies being done on immigrant women at the facility. 

The US has a dark and brutal history of forced sterilization against Black, Indigenous and Latinx women. For Indigenous communities, it’s become common for women to find out years after they had been sterilized in the schools the U.S. forced them to go to.

Black women have had repeated instances of forced sterilization, seeing as eugenics were heavily practiced in their communities between the ’30s and the ’70s. In that period of time, about 5,000 Black women were forcibly sterilized; and that’s just the ones that were documented. Latinx women have faced instances of hysterectomies before in Los Angeles, when “overpopulation” became a reason to justify forced sterilization. 

Considering this history, one would think the US has learned its lesson, but when has that ever happened. Now, with this most recent case of allegation of eugenics, outside organizations and journalists are calling it what I believe it is: medical genocide. 

Under the UN definition, “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group” is a case of genocide. What do hysterectomies do? They prevent women from ever being able to give birth. Sounds like a clear cut case of genocide to me. 

The reasoning for this inclusion in the definition was because of the eugenics the Nazis placed upon Jews in concentration camps. If this administration is trying to prove to us they are not fascist, they are not doing a good job which shows in their treatment of immigrant women in these centers. The fact that Latinx folks are being sent to camps is stage five in genocide, and that’s without the case of hysterectomies being considered. 

We are already seeing polarization, discrimination, dehumanization and symbolization occurring regarding Latinx immigrants. Adding hysterectomies to the list leaves no reason for the UN not to get involved. 

We are living in a country that has had a history of genocide. Thus, there is more of a reason to believe this case considering most states that conduct genocide have had instances of genocide beforehand. Just because we are the United States does not put us above the definition of genocide. American exceptionalism has no place in international courts.

Human rights lawyers, organizations and journalists are calling for the Department of Homeland Security to open an investigation on the Georgia facility and other detention centers across the country as they should. However, I do not see anything within the US resolving this case of supposed medical genocide given the administration who is in control of those means. 

I am calling for UN intervention. I am calling for the people in charge of ICE to be put on trial for their human rights abuses. I am calling for our president to be tried on an international court for crimes against humanity. Most of all, I am calling for an end to ICE. 

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