Czech state may finally compensate forced sterilization victims
Czech public broadcaster ČT24 reported on 5 August that people who have been sterilized against their will in the Czech Republic may finally receive compensation. The Chamber of Deputies' Commission on the Family, Equal Opportunities and National Minorities has called on the Czech Health Ministry to do so, and the ministry has agreed with Czech MPs Pastuchová and Válková to submit the necessary bill to do so.
The Czech state expressed regret over the unwanted sterilizations 10 years ago but has yet to compensate all the victims. Forced sterilizations happened beginning in the 1960s and were not definitively stopped until the law was amended in 2012 to clearly define informed consent.
"We know, unfortunately, of some reports that the grounds [for the forced sterilizations] were ethnic, i.e., limiting the reproduction of the Romani population. However, there were also medical reasons; health care personnel believed a future pregnancy could harm the woman, that it might kill her, and decided to sterilize her without her consent," Czech Deputy Health Minister Radek Policar told ČT24.
Among the victims of these practices are Elena Gorolová and Radka Hančilová. Doctors cut the Fallopian tubes of both women at the beginning of the 1990s during the course of Cesarean deliveries without informing either of them beforehand that they would do so.
"My reaction was that I began to cry. I was 21 years old and I couldn't believe it was for life," ČT24 quoted Gorolová as describing the impact of being told she would never have children again.
Doctors had repeatedly offered sterilization to Hančilová, but she had disagreed with their proposal. "I refused it, but all the same I woke up from the anesthesia and I had been sterilized. They claimed it was because my scar tissue had been damaged," Hančilová said.
In her case, the hospital commission that was asked to approve of the request for sterilization after the fact also rejected it as unnecessary. The hospital later acknowledged that the surgery had been illegal.
By the time the hospital admitted its wrongdoing to Hančilová, however, the statute of limitations for compensation had expired. Lawyers for the injured parties and MPs have already prepared the bill that is necessary to debate possibly compensating the victims.
"We would be glad if this compensation mechanism were to be adopted by the Chamber of Deputies. The best would be if it were a bill from the legislators themselves," Monika Šimůnková, a human rights expert and lawyer, told Czech Television.
According to Šimůnková, who was Human Rights Commissioner from 2011-2013, if the bill is adopted, those applying for compensation will have to demonstrate to a commission that they were illegally sterilized. According to experts, there may be as many as 500 women and men able to do so.
- Elena Gorolová: Some of the forced sterilization victims have died, but we are still fighting for compensation
- Elena Gorolová, who campaigns for compensation for forced sterilization, featured on Czech talk show
- Commentary: Czech Republic, Slovakia must compensate the victims of forced sterilization while they are still alive
- ROMEA to Czech President: Romani life in communist Czechoslovakia included forced assimilation, forced sterilization of women, segregated education
- Czech PM meets with forced sterilization victims and their representatives about compensation
- Czech Republic: Forced sterilization will be focus of academic and public discussions
- Czech and Slovak Victims of Coercive Sterilization Await Justice
- Illegally sterilized Romani women from Slovakia and the Czech Republic launch online petition as part of their fight for justice
- UN tells Czech Republic to improve Romani integration, compensate illegally sterilized women
- UN Human Rights Regional Office for Europe welcomes Czech Govt genocide site buyout, calls for illegally sterilized women to be compensated
- Czech researcher at Romani genocide commemoration: Compensate the victims of illegal sterilizations
- Czech NGOs report to UN that Government refuses to compensate women sterilized without informed consent
- Report on the coerced sterilization of Romani women in the Czech Republic describes last 50 years through testimony
- UN Human Rights Committee asks Slovak Government for independent body to investigate the forced sterilizations of Romani women
- Czech Govt Roma Council reviews Romani Holocaust sites, victim database, and compensation for involuntary sterilizations
- Analysis: Swiss Parliament approves law on "solidarity aid" to victims of forced sterilization
- Elena Gorolová on forced sterilizations: We seek compensation, nobody will ever restore our motherhood
- Czech Republic: Romani women forced to undergo sterilization tell their stories through theater
- OSCE/ODIHR Event to Focus on Justice and Redress to Roma Victims of Forced Sterilization in the Czech Republic
- Slovak court rules forcibly sterilized Romani woman to receive compensation, hospital appeals
- Slovak opposition wants to subsidize sterilizations of the poor
- Czech Constitutional Court rejects higher compensation for forcibly sterilized woman
- Slovakia loses another forced sterilization case in Strasbourg
- As many as 1 000 women could be compensated for wrongful sterilizations in Czech Republic
- Elena Gorolová welcomes Czech Govt review of compensation for forcibly sterilized women
- Most Czech Govt ministers agree wrongfully sterilized women should be compensated
- Czech Govt Human Rights Council recommends redress for illegally sterilized women
- Czech hospital compensates Romani woman forcibly sterilized 14 years ago
- European Court for Human Rights condemns Slovakia for forced sterilization of Romani woman
- Leading international ob-gyn organization issues new ethical guidelines on sterilization
- Czech Supreme Court - new hope for forcibly sterilized Romani women
- Slovak television drama features plot line on the sterilization of Romani women
- Roma activists discuss Czech Police, forced sterilization with US Embassy representatives
- Roma women harmed by forced sterilization in Czech Republic welcome Council of Europe approach to the issue
- CEDAW: Czechs must report progress on forced sterilizations in two years
- Sterilization victims still denied justice in the Czech Republic
- Czech court awards two women compensation for illegal sterilizations
- Czech government expression of regret over forced sterilization of Roma women is historic but insufficient
- Czech government expresses regret for illegal sterilizations of Romani women
- Kocáb draws attention to the forced sterilization of Romani women; most recent incident allegedly took place in 2007
- Czech coercive sterilization survivors go to Sweden
- Historic verdict: Court awards compensation to a Romani woman for sterilization for the first time
- Hospital apologizes for involuntary sterilization
- Romanian town must finally compensate some members of a forcibly evicted Romani community
- Czech Deputy Public Defender of Rights discusses compensation procedure for forced sterilizations in interview for ROMEA TV
- Czech MPs abolish infant institutions and raise remuneration for foster parents, bill now heads to Senate
- Czech President signs law to compensate the victims of illegal sterilizations
- Czech Senate approves compensation for the victims of illegal sterilizations
- Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe calls on the Czech Senate to approve compensation for illegal sterilizations, final vote tomorrow
- Czech Senate committee recommends compensation for the illegally sterilized, final word will rest with the Senate as a whole
- Some volunteer civil society members of Czech Govt Roma Council protest new law on subjecting welfare benefits to collections
- Czech MP alleges during parliamentary debate on welfare bill that incest is part of Romani culture, open racism on the floor of the lower house
- Slovak Ombudswoman and NGOs appeal to Government to compensate illegally sterilized people
- Czech lower house passes bill to compensate the illegally sterilized, most but not all of whom were Romani women
- The ruling that took 15 years: Czech town ordered to compensate some of the Romani residents whom it evicted and relocated