Filmmaker speaks out on ICE allegations

"America must reckon with its eugenic history," says Erika Cohn

by Jennie Kermode

Belly Of The Beast
Belly Of The Beast

Erika Cohn, director of upcoming documentary Belly Of The Beast, last night released a statement condemning the alleged coerced sterilisation of migrant women held at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centre in Georgia, US.

"I have spent the past decade examining the human rights abuses, including forced sterilisation, in California’s women’s prisons as both a volunteer legal advocate and as a filmmaker," Cohn said. "Because of the levels of secrecy and privacy institutions hide behind, it’s incredibly difficult to uncover abuses of power and state sponsored violence. We demand immediate accountability for these eugenic practices, justice for the survivors and safeguards to prevent future abuses."

The sterilisations reportedly took place at the privately run Irwin County Detention Centre, located near the small town of Ocilla. A formal complaint was filed yesterday by Project South, Georgia Detention Watch, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, and South Georgia Immigrant Support Network after reports that several women had been given hysterectomies without being told why, with no clear medical reason; and that, in another case, a patient with a cyst on one of her ovaries had the wrong ovary removed.

The US has a long history of sterilising minority women, including African American women, Native women and disabled women, often through programmes posing as providers of medical help or pregnancy care. In 2015 North Carolina paid compensation to victims of such procedures, and other states have come under pressure to do likewise.

Share this with others on...
News

Streaming Spotlight - San Sebastian Shell winners This week we're focusing on films that took home the top prizes in Spain

Dressing the part Steve McQueen, Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn and Micheal Ward on the costumes in Lovers Rock

Fragmented memories Sabrina Mertens and Jan Fabi on capturing something amiss in Time Of Moulting

Stay-At-Home Seven: September 14 to 20 This week's selection of films to catch on TV and streaming services

New York Film Festival Free Talks line-up revealed Steve McQueen and Joyce Carol Oates among speakers

Ammonite to open Newfest Festival will blend virtual and drive-in screenings

More news and features

We're bringing you news, reviews and interviews from the Venice Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the San Sebastian Film Festival and the Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh.



We're looking forward to the Scottish Queer International Film Festival, Manchester's Grimmfest and the London Film Festival.



We've recently been covering the Fantasia International Film Festival, London.horror festival Frightfest and LGBTQ+ festival Outfest LA.



Read our full for more.


Visit our festivals section.

Interact

It's been a while, but the competitions are back. Win a Blu-ray copy of Koko-di Koko-da in our latest.