romea - logo
June 21, 2018
extended search

Czech Republic: Forced sterilization will be focus of academic and public discussions

9.6.2018 10:56
"Stories That (Never) Began", a performance in Ostrava, Czech Republic about and by Romani women who are survivors of forced sterilization, was given on 9 June 2016. (PHOTO: Barbora Černušáková)

On Tuesday, 12 June the Prague Forum for Romani Histories will dedicate its attention to one of the most serious cases of human rights violations in Europe in recent history - forced sterilizations. The program, entitled "Forced Sterilization of Romani Women in the Czech(oslovak) and European Contexts: Past and Present", will be divided into a morning expert seminar and an evening public debate.

The sterilization of women without their informed consent was not a problem just for Central European countries during the 20th century, but countries ranging from Sweden to Switzerland to the USA have also grappled with the fact of their own such practices, and in the former Czechoslovakia these interventions were connected primarily with efforts undertaken by the strong state apparatus to implement laws and regulations on social policy in order to bring the differences of the Romani members of the population into line with the rest of society. According to estimates published by the Office of the Public Defender of Rights, which dedicated itself to investigating the practices of the involuntary sterilization of Romani women in more detail in 2005, thousands of women may have been involuntarily sterilized on the territory of the former Czechoslovakia.

The 17 December 1971 adoption of a directive by the Health Ministry of the Czech Socialist Republic (LP-252.3-19.11.71.) on the performance of sterilizations facilitated these practices, as it gave the public authorities more or less a free hand to systematically sterilize Romani women and women living with disabilities without their full and informed consent as a means of controlling their fertility. The directive was abolished in 1993, but the most recent case in which sterilization was performed on the basis of consent obtained illegally is known to have occurred in 2007.

Kateřina Čapková, coordinator of the activities of the Prague Forum for Romani Histories and an historian with the Institute for Contemporary History at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic told news server that "We are aware the subject of the sterilizations is, on the one hand, immeasurably serious and that a high-quality public discussion of it is necessary, but on the other hand it is a very sensitive topic. We decided to hold two thematic discussions in different formats during the course of a day that will perhaps make it possible for us to combine both the needed expert, high-quality discussion with the requisite sensitivity."

During the morning hours an international workshop will take place for registered participants at New York University in Prague. It will cover analyzing the argumentation that justified the forced sterilizations of Romani women in the Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia in the context of eugenics and the welfare state.

Academics have been invited to participate whose research is about the sterilization of Romani women in communist Czechoslovakia, as well as scholars who have studied sterilization practices in the context of Scandinavia, where sterilization was used as an official instrument of the welfare state until the 1970s. The seminar will be followed at 18:00 by a debate at the Václav Havel Library among some of those participating in the morning academic workshop that will be open to the public.

Both events will be simultaneously translated between Czech and English. A component of the evening discussion will be the subject of compensation for the victims of these harms.

There will be presentations made during the evening segment by a representative of the victims of these harms and a representative of those advocating for their compensation. In Western European countries, such compensation of forced sterilizations has already been undertaken or is in the process of happening, with the Swiss Parliament being the most recent European legislature to adopt a law on offering such aid in solidarity with the victims of forced sterilization and other abuses of the welfare state.

In the Czech Republic - just as in other post-communist countries - there is a lack of political will to undertake such across-the-board compensation of the victims of these harms by adopting legislation for that purpose. The calls for compensation by the Public Defender of Rights and a specific bill proposed by former Czech Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier to that end have not yet been successful.

Eva Zdařilová, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
Views: 343x

Don't miss:

Related articles:


Diskriminace, Diskuze, Sterilisation, Romani women


--ilustrační foto--

Romani entrepreneurs push for unemployed Roma, not foreigners, to be hired for Czech bark beetle eradication

16.6.2018 8:46
The Association of Romani Entrepreneurs and Guilds (Asociace romských podnikatelů a spolků) has offered to provide 1 000 laborers who have long been registered with the Czech Labor Office for work in forests to combat bark beetle, sending an open letter making the offer to Czech Environment Minister Richard Brabec (ANO) and Czech Agriculture Minister Jiří Milek (for ANO). Czech firms are complaining that they do not have enough laborers for forestry work and that they are understaffed by thousands.
 full story

--ilustrační foto--

Nationalists desecrate Czech memorial to genocide of the Roma

8.6.2018 8:26
The memorial to the genocide of the Roma at Lety u Písku has been desecrated with insulting anti-Roma messages on several signs posted there by the nationalist group "Us Against All" (My proti všem). According to the police who have begun to investigate the incident it could be one of felony disorderly conduct.
 full story

--ilustrační foto--

Renata Berkyová: Concept of the Porajmos as a reflection of the marginalization of Roma in historiography

6.6.2018 13:25
In recent years, in connection with commemorations of the tragic fate of Romani people during the Second World War and the expansion of our awareness of the Holocaust and its Romani victims, a breakthrough event has been in the making. Apparently the most recent example of this in the Czech Republic is the state buyout of the pig farm located on the site of former so-called "Gypsy Camp" at Lety u Písku, which was preceded by years of relentless pressure on the highest state representatives by the relatives of the victims, activists, and experts.
 full story


Každý diskutující musí dodržovat PRAVIDLA DISKUZE SERVERU Moderátoři serveru si vyhrazují právo bez předchozího upozornění skrýt nevhodné příspěvky z diskuse na Ty pak budou viditelné jen pro vás a vaše přátele na Facebooku. Při opakovaném porušení pravidel mohou moderátoři zablokovat zobrazování vašich příspěvků v diskusích na ostatním uživatelům.

More articles from category

romea - logo