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December 6, 2021



Czech NGO calls on govt to deal with forced sterilisation cases

Ostrava, 4.4.2008 16:57, (ROMEA/CTK)

The Czech Human Rights League association calls on the government to deal with cases of Romany women who were sterilised against their will, mainly in southern Moravia and southern Bohemia, David Zahumensky from the league told CTK today.

The league criticised Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Dzamila Stehlikova for not proposing the issue for discussion in the government.

Stehlikova said in reaction the government is to discuss the issue in near future. She said the problem was too broad to be dealt with earlier.

The Government Council for Romany Affairs dealt with the issue in February 2007 and it then handed it to the Government Council for Human Rights, which recommended to the government late last year that it acknowledge that sterilisations were performed unlawfully in the past.

"We want the government to express its regret about this and promise to take steps to prevent similar cases in the future," Zahumensky said.

He added that the government should establish a working commission to examine sterilisations performed after July 1, 1966 when a law on sterilisation took effect in Czechoslovakia.

The European Roma Rights Centre in 2004 voiced the suspicion of forced sterilisation of Romany women in the Czech Republic and the problem has been discussed since then.

In October 2007, a Czech court ruled that Romany Iveta Cervenakova should receive 500,000 crowns from an Ostrava hospital in compensation for sterilisation performed against her will.

Cervenakova has been the first Czech woman who a court said should be compensated for sterilisation. However, the hospital appealed the verdict. An appeal court is likely to deal with the case in the summer.

Zahumensky noted that unwanted sterilisations were performed not only in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but also in other countries.

But he said some other countries were able to deal with the problem in a dignified way. He mentioned Sweden that he said compensated three-fourths of some 2000 women who asked for compensation.

Sterilised women from the Czech Republic and Slovakia meet in Ostrava this week, mainly to exchange their experience.

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