Czech Republic: Compensation for illegally sterilized women in negotiation
Last week the Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner participated in a round table to review the options for compensating women who have been illegally sterilized. The meeting was convened by the Czech Helsinki Committee and chaired by its past president, Anna Šabatová.
The round table was attended by other distinguished actors on this issue such as human rights activist Gwendolyn Albert, Elena Gorolová of the Group of Women Harmed by Forced Sterilization, lawyer Kateřina Červená of the League of Human Rights, and representatives of the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, as well as Marek Szilvasi of the European Roma Rights Centre and Claude Cahn, a human rights adviser from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The experts discussed questions of how to compensate women who have been illegally sterilized.
The Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner informed the group of the state of negotiations on a motion from the Czech Government Human Rights Council to the Government on this issue. Various ministries are currently discussing that particular motion.
The issue was also raised that most women have been unable to pursue their compensation claims through the courts because of statutes of limitations. The final outcome of the round table was that the Czech Helsinki Committee, in collaboration with the members of this group, will continue its work designing draft legislation for a compensation mechanism. Support for that mechanism will then be sought among politicians and the public.
"The compensation should concern the broadest possible circle of victims, irrespective of their origin, race, etc. Experience from abroad and some information from the Czech Republic indicate that the women who have been sterilized without their consent were not only Romani, but were, for example, women living with disabilities or with some other sort of social difference (e.g., dissidents during the communist era). The approach toward all of the victims should be as considerate and as generous as possible so as to avoid compounding the harm they have suffered,” says the press release of the Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner.
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