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Romany women demand compensation for involuntary sterilisation

Prague, 20.2.2007 17:32, (CTK)

A working group of Romany women at the Government Council for Romany Issues has proposed to establish a fund from which the victims of involuntary sterilisation would be compensated, council secretary Czeslaw Walek told CTK today.

The council approved the proposal on Monday and sent it to individual ministries for comments, he said, adding that the government would only discuss it after all the modifications proposed by the ministries were included into it.

Apart from the compensation, the victims should also be entitled to an apology, he said.

In January, the High Court in Olomouc, north Moravia, dealt with the first complaint about involuntary sterilisation. It ruled that the hospital in Vitkovice, north Moravia, should apologise to Helena Ferencikova who was sterilised six years ago without her explicit consent.

However, the court did not recognise her right to financial compensation since her case fell was statute barred.

Ombudsman Otakar Motejl whose office has received about 80 complaints from Romany women by the end of 2005 alone has also proposed to compensate women for involuntary sterilisation.

He proposed compensation for the women who were sterilised without their explicit consent in 1973-1991.

The Slovak Constitutional Court recognised the right of three Romany women to compensation last December. It ruled that the Kosice, east Slovakia, prosecutor's office violated their rights by repeatedly rejecting their complaints about involuntary sterilisation.

The European Roma Centre was the first to openly raise the suspicions of involuntary sterilisation of Romanies in 2004.

According to its report, there were cases in the Czech Republic in which Romany women did not give their consent to sterilisation or gave it under the threat of being stripped of social security benefits.

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