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Czech Helsinki Committee designs law to compensate illegally sterilized people

Prague, 14.1.2014 17:18, (ROMEA)
Elena Gorolová, spokesperson for the Group of Women Harmed by Forced Sterilization. Hundreds of women have been illegally sterilized in the former Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic, the vast majority of whom cannot sue in court because their claims are statute-barred. (PHOTO: www.llp.cz)
Elena Gorolová, spokesperson for the Group of Women Harmed by Forced Sterilization. Hundreds of women have been illegally sterilized in the former Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic, the vast majority of whom cannot sue in court because their claims are statute-barred. (PHOTO: www.llp.cz)

The Czech Helsinki Committee (Český helsinský výbor - ČHV) has completed a bill to use as a basis for compensating the victims of illegally performed sterilizations. The NGO is now submitting the draft legislation to the political parties seated in the Czech Parliament as well as to the justice minister and is calling on them both to see through an adequate resolution to the issue of illegal sterilizations as soon as possible.  

The practice of sterilizing people without their informed consent has taken place on the territory of the Czech Republic in the past. Up until 1991 this was as the result of a policy established by the state to limit the reproduction of groups in the population considered inconvenient by the Czechoslovak regime. 

After 1991, the Czech Republic contributed to continuing the practice of sterilizing people without their informed consent by not adopting legal arrangements to clearly establish the conditions under which sterilization might lawfully be performed, including with the provision of free and informed consent. Hundreds of people have therefore lost the opportunity to have children, resulting in many traumas for families and individuals.  

"Since the Czech Republic has long been inactive in this direction, despite repeated criticism of this situation at both international and national level by human rights defenders, the Czech Helsinki Committee decided to contribute to accelerating the process of adopting legal arrangements to ensure the effective, rapid implementation of compensation for illegally sterilized persons by submitting this material," said Michaela Tejnorová, a lawyer for the ČHV. Statistical work in the field that accompanied ČHV's drafting of the bill has shown that some women are still encountering very negative responses from some health care facilities when they request their medical records of these sterilizations.  

"Some women have been skeptical about working with us on this issue, as they have tried and failed for many years to claim compensation for what happened to them. Reopening this topic brings up painful memories for them and reminds them of all the different consequences of what was done to them, not just the medical ones," says Elena Gorolová of the Group of Women Harmed by Coercive Sterilization, who has been collaborating on the ČHV project. 
brf, Czech Helsinki Committee, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Český helsinský výbor, odškodnění, Romové, sterilizace, ženy



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