12 April 2012 Last updated at 01:19
Uzbekistan's policy of secretly sterilising women
By Natalia Antelava BBC World Service
The BBC has been told by doctors that Uzbekistan is running a secret programme to sterilise women - and has talked to women sterilised without their knowledge or consent.
Adolat has striking looks, a quiet voice and a secret that she finds deeply shameful.
She knows what happened is not her fault, but she cannot help feeling guilty about it.
Adolat comes from Uzbekistan, where life centres around children and a big family is the definition of personal success. Adolat thinks of herself as a failure.
"What am I after what happened to me?" she says as her hand strokes her daughter's hair - the girl whose birth changed Adolat's life.
"I always dreamed of having four - two daughters and two sons - but after my second daughter I couldn't get pregnant," she says.
She went to see a doctor and found out that she had been sterilised after giving birth to her daughter by Caesarean section.
"I was shocked. I cried and asked: 'But why? How could they do this?' The doctor said, 'That's the law in Uzbekistan.'"
Sterilisation is not, officially, the law in Uzbekistan.
But evidence gathered by the BBC suggests that the Uzbek authorities have run a programme over the last two years to sterilise women across the country, often without their knowledge.... (continued in link)
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17612550
Another quote from the article:
Until recently Uzbek President Islam Karimov was a pariah in the West, but in recent years both the US and the EU have lifted sanctions, including a US ban on arms sales.
This is apparently related to America's worsening relationship with Pakistan and Nato's increased use of routes through Central Asia, including Uzbekistan, to get supplies and troops in and out of Afghanistan.