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Czech Romany women's sterilisation not to be punished - press

Prague, 24.7.2007 9:50, (CTK)

Women's sterilisation without their consent is a criminal act, but the doctors who performed it will not be punished as the case falls under the statute of limitations, state attorneys from Most, North Bohemia, have ruled, the server Aktualne.cz writes today.

The state attorneys checked the decisions of their subordinates in the case of sterilisation of two Romany women from Kupka and Chanov in the Most hospital from the 1990s, Aktualne.cz writes.

The state attorney's office has confirmed the original verdict of a state attorney that doctors had violated the women's rights and sterilisation legislation, but the case falls under the statute of limitations.

"It is a final decision. We are considering further steps," Michaela Kopalova from the Human Rights' League that represents the women said.

The lawyers wanted all medical documents on the cases of sterilisation conducted by the doctors to be checked.

However, the state attorney's office refused to do this, arguing that it could not violate medical secrecy, the server said.

The authorities are considering amending sterilisation laws, while the Supreme Court is preparing a verdict in the case of Helena Ferencikova. She was the first woman to obtain apology for sterilisation in the Czech Republic, but the court did not adjudge compensation to her, also arguing that Ferencikova's claim falls under the statute of limitations.

Human rights minister Dzamila Stehlikova and experts from the ombudsman office have agreed that sterilisation legislation should be amended to minimise the risk of errors.

Stehlikova wants to submit an amendment to the law on the public health in autumn. In it, not only a consent upon information is to be sufficient, but the doctors are to have the duty to explain clearly and exactly what the step will mean along with its consequences.

Since the end of 2005, some 89 Czech Romany women have filed complaints about forced sterilisation with the Czech ombudsman's Office.

The European Roma Rights Centre in 2004 voiced the suspicion of forced sterilisation of Romany women in the Czech Republic.

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Czech republic, Sterilisation



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