March 16, 2012
Recently, the Czech Government’s Human Rights Council issued a recommendation to the government to compensate forcibly sterilised women.
In a letter sent last week, the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), the Group of Women Harmed by Forced Sterilization and Life Together, has welcomed this recommendation very much.The NGOs are calling on Czech authorities to grant compensation to all potential victims of unlawful sterilisation in the Czech Republic, irrespective of their age, ethnicity, nationality or the particular period when they were sterilised. According to the ERRC, a robust compensation mechanism from the Czech Republic could be a benchmark of good practice for other countries in the region that have a history of carrying out forced sterilisations.
On 17 February 2012, the Czech Human Rights Council passed a decision urging the Czech Government to introduce a compensation mechanism for victims of involuntary sterilisation. It proposes that women who were subjected to forced sterilisations between January 1972 and May 1991 be entitled to compensation. Women who were sterilised illegally after 1991 would also be entitled to compensation if they were unable to sue in civil court before the three-year statute of limitations expired.
The ERRC said it is the first time the Council has made comprehensive and detailed recommendations to the government. The issue of forced sterilisation has not gone away in recent years: the ERRC has documented 27 cases which took place between 1989 and 2007. “The Council’s recommendation is a positive step, and the Czech government now has an opportunity to provide redress to women who were sterilised without consent. It should immediately take measures to address the issues.” Forced sterilisation of women is one of the themes in the Stop Torture in Health Care Campaign, in which IFHHRO is a partner.