Elena Gorolová, who campaigns for compensation for forced sterilization, featured on Czech talk show
Yesterday's guest on the Jan Kraus Show, a nationally popular television talk show in the Czech Republic, was Elena Gorolová, the Romani woman who was included by the BBC on its list of the world's 100 most influential and inspirational women last year. She is fighting for women who have been illegally sterilized to be compensated by the state.
The interview was broadcast on 1 May at 22:14 on the commercial Prima television channel and can be watched online here. Gorolová (age 50) was the only woman from the Czech Republic to be included on the BBC's prestigious list last year.
The activist has been fighting for 15 years for the state to compensate those illegally sterilized in the former Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic. At the age of 21 she was sterilized without her informed consent during the Cesarean delivery of her second son.
"I cannot forgive what they did to me, I was 21 years old, I still have not come to terms with it to this day," she describes. She and her husband, who has always supported her activities, had always wanted a daughter.
"We wanted a little girl. We wanted to have one more child after our two sons. No more than that. I myself am from a family of just two children," she says.
Today she is employed as a field social worker for the Life Together (Vzájemné soužití) public benefit corporation. She attempts to help children who have been institutionalized by the state return to their birth families.
"We also strive to make sure children are not institutionalized in the first place," she says. Since her youth she has been involved in fighting for the rights of the women who were sterilized without their informed consent both before and after 1989.
Doctors performed the surgery without making sure the women were fully aware of its permanent consequences. "I know 200 women to whom this happened. I am in personal contact with 100 of them," Gorolová says.
In 2009 the Czech Government expressed regret for the unlawfully-performed surgeries. The women have yet to be granted the compensation they seek.
Gorolová says the women subjected to this treatment were not just Romani. "We have women from the majority society among us also. That's good. The public cannot just perceive this as a Romani problem. It's a problem of the entire society," she explains.
Her case was one of many reviewed in 2005 by the Public Defender of Rights in the Czech Republic, which, on the basis of its investigation, called on other victims to come forward. Back then a total of 90 contacted the office, which recommended the victims receive compensation.
While that report broke through the surface of Czech media coverage for a moment, in practice it took years for either the Czech Government or for Parliament to take specific steps to deal with the issue. Human rights activists have made repeated use of the report to call on the international human rights community to urge the Czech Republic to begin taking the legal steps necessary to compensate the victims.
While such calls have been made repeatedly for 15 years, they have yet to result in the introduction of a compensation process for the victims. Since the close of the 1960s until at least 2007, women were sterilized without their informed consent, first in Czechoslovakia and then in the independent states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia after 1993.
- 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
- Czech researcher at Romani genocide commemoration: Compensate the victims of illegal sterilizations
- 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
- UN Committee tells Czech Republic: Compensate victims of forced sterilization and punish those responsible
- Czech Government to answer questions about illegal sterilizations, mostly of Romani women, from UN Committee tomorrow
- Slovakia internationally criticized for forced sterilization, police impunity for brutality against Roma, position on refugee reception and segregated education
- Compensation for victims of forced sterilization raised at OSCE event on Roma
- Commentary: Czech journalists stoke hatred of Romani people to distract from failed pandemic response
- Romani women call on Czech MPs to take the first step toward compensating forcibly, illegally sterilized persons, 150 figures support them
- More than 60 % of Czechs active online believe Romani people are favored over non-Roma in the Czech Republic
- Czech primary school materials feature a total of 71 sentences about Roma - and they promote stereotypes
- Czech school claims it's "random" that white children are segregated from Romani children in separate first-grade class
- VIDEO: Commemoration at former concentration camp in Czech Republic remembers Romani victims of Auschwitz, Human Rights Commissioner expresses support for a Romani Commissioner
- Best Reality, Stars reality corporation s.r.o., DůmRealit.cz, Broker´s Team, CENTURY 21 Finem caught on tape rejecting Roma tenants in Czech Republic, only CENTURY 21 apologizes
- Commentary: Czech ombudsman's racist remarks reveal his ignorance of Roma and of history
- Commentary: Romani actors should boycott Czech cop show over antigypsyist content
- Czech nursery school underpays Romani janitor for years, refuses to compensate her, she is suing
- Slovak Education Ministry establishes expert team focused on solving problems with the education of members of national minorities
- Czech MEPs welcome European Commission lawsuit against Austria over different allowances for non-expatriate children of EU workers