Eugenics and the region of southern Africa has a long history, whether it be the Bantu attempts to exterminate the Khoikhoi during the 17th century or the fact that Namibia was the center of the first genocide of the twentieth century with the massacre of the Herrero people carried out by the German Empire with German eugenicists such as Eugen Fischer “studying” the dead and producing “reports” on genetics that were later used by the Third Reich in their infamous Aktion T-4 eugenics program against the Slavs.
South Africa has some of the highest HIV rates in the world. However, according to a new report released from ABC News, dozens of HIV-positive women in South Africa were sterilized against their will and received threats from hospital staff if they did not consent because, according to one woman, “you HIV people like making babies and it just annoys us”.
A scathing new report reveals that dozens of HIV-positive women were forced or coerced into sterilization after giving birth at public hospitals in South Africa.
The Commission for Gender Equality’s report this week says it investigated complaints by at least 48 women of “cruel, torturous or inhumane and degrading treatment” at the hospitals. At times it occurred when women were in labor.
In many cases, “the hospitals’ staff had threatened not to assist them in giving birth” if they didn’t sign the consent forms for sterilization, the report says. The commission is a statutory body that operates as an independent watchdog.
The forced sterilizations at 15 public hospitals in South Africa between 2002 and 2005 have sparked public outrage. Some of the hospitals are in some of the country’s largest cities such as Johannesburg and Durban.
“When I asked the nurse what the forms were for, the nurse responded by saying: ‘You HIV people don’t ask questions when you make babies. Why are you asking questions now? You must be closed up because you HIV people like making babies and it just annoys us,” the report quotes one complainant as saying. (source)
The fact that eugenics is being proposed as a “solution” to the HIV crisis in South Africa is very dangerous because it is actions such as these which are used, historically speaking, to lead to genocide.
There is a lot of animosity right now that has been stirred up between the black African majority and the white minority in that nation. It is also known that South Africa was a British-Dutch colony (depending on the history and region), and that nationalism is being used by European nations to revive militarism and according to former EC member Bernard Connolly from a 2009 report, possibly the old empires of Europe.
One should beware that while such reports are not necessarily related to this particular act of sterilization, Europe has a history of eugenics, and even the justification of eugenic policies, no matter what the form, can lead to further and deadly consequences in the future.
It will be interesting to see if anything else comes from this report.