The Quipu Project is an interactive documentary about women and men who were sterilised in Peru in the mid-1990s by population controllers, often without informed consent. Using VOIP telephone lines and a web interface, researchers are gathering testimony from women in isolated communities high in the Andes. Many are illiterate and speak only Quechua, the principal indigenous language.
In the video above Francisca Quispe Pontenciano recalls the circumstances which led to her sterilisation. It makes painful listening.
This horrific story is hardly known outside of Peru. “I was working for Amnesty International in Peru in the 1990s and nobody knew this was going on,” Matthew Brown, of the University of Bristol, in the UK, told Prospect. “Awareness has been growing in the last three years, partly because of our project and partly because of the efforts of victims groups. These women were sterilised at 20 and now they are coming up to 45 with no one to look after them in old age. That was the community welfare safety net.”
An estimated 300,000 women were sterilised by officials while Alberto Fujimori was president of Peru. He is now serving a 25 year sentence for crimes against humanity, although he has been exonerated of the abuses committed during the population control campaign. Prosecutors failed to prove that Fujimori was criminally responsible for the sterilisation campaign because “no one can force a doctor to do something against their will.”
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