Roma women harmed by forced sterilization in Czech Republic welcome Council of Europe approach to the issue
The following is a press release from the Group of Women Harmed by Forced Sterilization:
On 3 March 2011, the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, Tomas Hammerberg, issued a report on the state of human rights in the Czech Republic. Commissioner Hammerberg called the state policy with respect to sterilizations until 1991 a gross systemic violation of human rights and called on the Czech Government to thoroughly investigate and redress it. He expressed the opinion that women who have been sterilized without their informed consent effectively have no option to sue for compensation in the Czech Republic.
Commissioner Hammerberg proposes the Czech Republic re-evaluate the length of the statute of limitations on these cases such that the time bar will be calculated not from the time of the surgery, but from the time when the women fully realized the ramifications of their sterilization. As a guideline for their compensation he proposes the Government refer to a 2005 UN document on Basic Principles and Recommendations for Victims of Gross Violations of Human Rights as well as to compensation mechanisms for the victims of forced sterilization in other countries.
The Ostrava Group of Women Harmed by Forced Sterilization welcomes Commissioner Hammerberg's report and humbly expresses its enthusiasm for it. The Group calls on the Czech Government to take steps to truly compensate the forced sterilization of women as per Commissioner Hammarberg's recommendations. Forced sterilization has deeply and permanently interfered with our family lives, our motherhood, our psyches, our health, our emotions and our womanhood.
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