Dozens of indigenous women were forcibly sterilised by Canadian health authorities, including as recently as in 2017, said the lawyer leading a class-action lawsuit against the government.
Alisa Lombard was speaking on Thursday after appearing in Geneva at the U.N. Committee against Torture during hearings into Canada’s human rights record.
More than 90 indigenous women in the western province of Saskatchewan contacted lawyers to join the lawsuit over forced sterilisation, said Lombard of Maurice Law, the indigenous-run firm spearheading the case.
“This practice needs to stop,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, adding that she knew of cases in 2009, 2011 and 2017.
“If it happened then and nothing was done to prevent it, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be happening now,” Lombard said.
A government spokeswoman said officials were still gathering information on the issue, and could not say with certainty that the practice had stopped.
The U.N. committee will publish its findings on December 7.