Friday, 18 April 2014

Human rights council proposes compensation for sterilised women

21 February 2012

Prague, Feb 20 (CTK) - The Czech government council for human rights recommends to compensate the women who were unjustly sterilised in 1971-91, Monika Simunkova, government human rights commissioner, told CTK yesterday.

She said the government could discuss the matter in the next few months and it should get a draft "compensation mechanism" by the end of next year.

Dozens of women, most of them Romanies, turned to the ombudsman, some also to courts, in the past.

All women, including those who had a claim to a financial sum for undergoing the operation, under the then valid rules, should be compensated.

Under a decree, valid until 1991, 10,000 crowns could be paid out if a woman underwent operation terminating her fertility.

The government discussed recommendations by the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) last week, including compensation to Romany women for forced sterilisation.

Simunkova said she proposed to the government that it assign some ministers with several tasks related to the compensation

The Justice Ministry is to review limitation periods.

The ministries of health, labour and social affairs, and of finance together with Simunkova are to propose the method of compensation by the end of next year.

The health minister is to ensure by end-June that the health documentation on sterilisation since 1971 be not scrapped. The minister is to prepare guidelines for sterilisation by end-September.

The suspicion that Romany women underwent forced sterilisation in Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic was expressed by the European Roma Rights Centre in 2004.

According to the centre some Romany women did not consent to sterilisation, or they agreed with it in an extreme situation or under the threat of being stripped of welfare benefits.

The late ombudsman Otakar Motejl also proposed compensation for sterilisation when some 80 women, mainly Romanies, turned to him in end-2005.

No statistics on forcibly sterilised women exist in the Czech Republic.

($1=18.997 crowns)

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