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August 16, 2022

 

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Video advice on the compensation process for illegal sterilizations in the Czech Republic

8.7.2022 11:27
"Stories That (Never) Began", a performance in Ostrava, Czech Republic by and about survivors of forced sterilization, was staged on 9 June 2016. (PHOTO: Liga lidských práv)

As of 1 January 2022, the victims of the illegal sterilizations that were performed between 1 July 1966 and 31 March 2012 in the Czech Republic have been able to apply for compensation in the amount of CZK 300,000 [EUR 12,000]. Documenting the fact that an illegal sterilization has been committed is proving to be a problem for some applicants.

Hospitals may have already shredded many documents about such sterilizations in the interim. Moreover, according to news server Romea.cz, the Health Ministry is apparently rejecting testimonies from family members of the victims as evidence, even though such testimonies are mentioned in its own instructions as one possible kind of proof.

Victims have to demonstrate that their sterilization was performed in contravention of the law, i.e., that they either never agreed to be sterilized or that the circumstances under which their consent was given violated legal regulations. News server Romea.cz has summarized in video form the basic information that those applying should provide.

In addition to information such as the person's surname at the time of the surgery, it is important to have a bank account. Those applying must also describe the circumstances under which the sterilization happened and in which hospital it was performed.

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"Describe who decided about your sterilization. Was it the doctor? Did you know what the consequences would be?" the video asks.

The best evidence to submit is the medical record of the sterilization. As many applicants will not have a copy of their records, they can ask the ministry to find the documentation for them.

VIDEO

The second video produced by news server Romea.cz explains what to do if the ministry either rejects an application or wants the applicant to provide more information. It is important to file the appeal against a rejection by the communicated deadline.

VIDEO

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) contacted the Czech authorities in 2004 with suspicions that illegal sterilizations were being performed, mostly on Romani women. Dozens of women then contacted the Public Defender of Rights with their complaints and some also sued in court.

The Czech Government's Committee against Torture proposed introducing a compensation procedure in 2006. In 2009, the Czech Government expressed regret for the illegal surgeries.

The Czech state was criticized for years for having failed to compensate the victims after their rights were violated. A law to compensate them was adopted by Parliament last year and signed by the President.

agw, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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forced sterilization, odškodnění, ROMEA, o. s. , Zdraví



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