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East Timor - sub section

East Timoresse Women - Raping the Future - Depo-Provera

In 1975, the women of East Timor felt the brunt of some of the Indonesian military's most egregious human-rights violations: They were raped in the presence of family members, forced to marry Indonesian soldiers, subjected to torture by electric shock, sexually abused, and forcibly sterilized.

The first phase began from the time of the Indonesian invasion in 1975  and extended through the mid-1980s. Indonesian soldiers raped and impregnated East Timorese women and girls, mutilated pregnant women, and covertly sterilized them. The second phase, which extended to the late 1990s, saw further covert sterilization and coerced contraception of East Timorese women through the World Bank-funded population control program, Programa Keluarga Berencana ( known as the KB program).

Western nations ignored the plight of the East Timorese women. The KB program violated a number of UN declarations on human rights, it also violated the women's religious freedoms. East Timor was 91 percent Catholic, and many women opposed contraception on religious grounds. The goal was to reduce the population of East Timor, It was an example of genocide that was practiced over 24 years.

One technique that was used by Indonesian "health workers" (who were often accompanied by military personnel) was administering hormonal contraceptives under the guise that the women were receiving vaccinations. These women were injected without being told. They were told it was vitamins or antimalaria drugs, teenage girls would often receive these "vaccinations" at school in the presence of Indonesian soldiers, with the doors locked to prevent escape."

There were documented cases of women who entered Indonesian health clinics in East Timor for emergency or routine surgeries, like caesarian section births or appendectomies, only to realize later that they were unable to conceive - victims of tubal ligations.

Indonesia's KB program (as well as its more covert sterilization practices) was in blatant violation of international standards set in United Nation's Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Fourth World Conference on Women. The standards outlined at these conferences demanded women's rights to informed family planning, adequate maternal and reproductive health services, and the right to reproduce freely.

The most common contraceptive that was used in East Timor was the injectable form of Depo-Provera, which is a long-term hormonal contraceptive that prevents the user's ovaries from producing mature eggs for about three months. The drug was  approved in the US by the FDA, but it has significant side effects, including blood clots, irregular menstruation, depression, and shock. If Depo-Provera is administered to pregnant women, or if a woman happens to become pregnant while taking the drug, the fetus and mother may experience life-threatening complications. And according to the Physician's Desk Reference, the drug must be administered only during the first five days of a normal menstrual cycle.

In Timor, women have had still births, miscarriages as a result of [Depo-Provera injections], and some women became sterile because of it. East Timorese women were forced to bear much of the load of what many believe was an Indonesian government plan to eliminate the East Timorese culture, over the 24 years,  destroying the sense of being a woman and destroying the Timorese family of the future.

 

 
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