Blame game about HIV positive women’s forced sterilisation complaint

2015-03-19 16:44

There is confusion about the complaint lodged by 48 women who said they were forced or coerced into sterilisation because they were HIV positive.

The Commission for Gender Equality says it has not received a formal complaint from Her Rights Initiative, a non-governmental organisation assisting the women with their case. Her Rights Initiative on the other hand is adamant that a formal complaint was lodged with the Commission for Gender Equality recently and yesterday was the symbolic handover of the complaint.

The confusion comes after commission representatives failed to pitch at a media briefing in Rosebank yesterday called by the Her Rights Initiative and Oxfam to discuss and announce the official handover of the complaint.

Commission for Gender Equality spokesperson Javu Baloyi said: “We were initially invited by the organisers to join a panel of speakers at their press briefing on launching their complaint, but noted that this would not be appropriate as this would compromise the impartiality of the investigation to follow.

“We find it disturbing that the event is now being referred to as the handover of the complaint, and concerns raised at why the Commission for Gender Equality failed to be there to receive the complaint as if this is indicative of our response to the seriousness of this issue. This is very worrying although we would like to believe this is not what was intended by the organisers,” he said.

But Sethembiso Mthembu of the Her Rights Initiative insisted that Commission for Gender Equality was invited and it confirmed its attendance but said it would not comment on the complaint as it would compromise the investigation.

She added: “We have been working with them in the development of this complaint. Commissioner Jane Hicks assisted us so much with securing a meeting with the MEC in KwaZulu-Natal and they participated in processes and data analysis.”

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