Czech Republic to compensate Roma women for forced sterilizations


Prague

The Czech Republic will compensate Roma (Gypsy) women who were forcibly sterilised both before and after the fall of Communism.

The Roma have always been a stigmatised minority -- in the Czech Republic and in many other European countries. Under Communism, women were often sterilised after childbirth without their consent – and the practice continued until 2012. After years of campaigning for justice, the government has decided to award women who were unlawfully sterilised between 1966 and 2012 a grant of CZK 300,000 (US$14,000). About 400 women are expected to claim compensation – although thousands are believed to have been sterilised.

Barbora Černušáková, Amnesty International’s researcher on the Czech Republic, explained:

“Thousands of women, the majority of whom were Roma, were sterilized in the former Czechoslovakia. Women were coerced into signing consent forms, often while they were in labour or recovering from Caesarean sections. In many cases they were not told what they were agreeing to. This was a gross violation of their rights, including the right to be free from torture, or ill-treatment, and a shameful chapter in the country’s history.

Roma rights campaigner Elena Gorolova told The Lancet that compensation was not the central issue. “This was never about just the money; it was about recognition for what was done and making sure it doesn’t happen again—that women don’t have to go through what we did. Thankfully, now they shouldn’t,” she said.

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge




MORE ON THESE TOPICS |


This article is published by Michael Cook and BioEdge under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

 
 Search BioEdge

 Subscribe to BioEdge newsletter
rss Subscribe to BioEdge RSS feed

 
comments powered by Disqus