Lawmakers in the US state of Virginia have agreed to pay compensation to people who were forcibly sterilised by the authorities decades ago.

Virginia operated a policy of eugenics for decades

Victims will be paid $25,000 (£16,000) following a legal fight by campaigners.

Along with more than 30 other US states, Virginia once operated a sterilisation programme for individuals deemed undesirable or mentally unsound.

More than 8,000 Virginians were operated on between the 1920s and 1970s.

The state's programme was said to be the model for the Nazi eugenics policies introduced by Adolf Hitler when he aspired to create a master race.

Several countries practised forced sterilisation during the 20th Century, including Sweden, Canada and Japan.

'They took my rights away'

In the US, about 65,000 Americans were sterilised in 33 states.

More than a fifth of those sterilised in Virginia were African Americans.

Two-thirds were women, many of whom went in for other procedures and were unaware of what was happening to them, reports the BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan.


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