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U.S. Helsinki Committee debates Slovak Romanies' sterilisations

Washington, 8.4.2008 15:51, (ROMEA/CTK)

The U.S. Helsinki Committee on Monday expressed regret that the Slovak government has not yet admitted that Romany women were sterilised against their will in Slovakia, the committee said in a statement issued on the occasion of the International Roma Day today.

It is unfortunate that the Slovak government has not yet recognised that forced sterilisations of Slovak Romany women occurred, said committee chairman Alcee Hastings, deputy of the House of Representatives.

He added he met Slovak Deputy PM Dusan Caplovic in February and called on him to deal with this painful chapter in Slovak history.

Moreover, this is crucial for Slovakia to secure all women's access to their medical files, stressed Hastings, who issued the statement along with another committee chairman, senator Benjamin Cardin.

Five years ago, the committee criticised how the Slovak government investigated the whole case.

The then committee's letter was also signed by current presidential candidate, senator Hillary Clinton, who is still a committee member.

The Slovak government said in the autumn 2003 that neither the Slovak police nor the Health Ministry's investigation confirmed the NGOs' report, claiming that Romany women had been illegally sterilised in Slovakia.

The U.S. Helsinki Committee was established in 1976 to monitor the observance of agreements from the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe held in 1975.

The committee comprises nine senators, nine deputies from the House of Representatives and one representative from the departments of state, defense and commerce each.

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