CZECH REPUBLIC - COERCIVE STERILIZATIONS OF ROMANI WOMEN
PRESENTATION BY REPRESENTATIVE OF GROUP OF WOMEN HARMED BY FORCED STERILIZATION IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC - AT THE DURBAN REVIEW CONFERENCE IN GENEVA
The Durban Review Conference, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, 20-24 April 2009, will evaluate progress towards the goals set by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa, in 2001. http://www.un.org/durbanreview2009/
FINAL STATEMENT OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC PUBLIC DEFENDER OF RIGHTS IN THE MATTER OF STERILISATIONS PERFORMED IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE LAW AND PROPOSED REMEDIAL MEASURES
CZECH REPUBLIC - Elena Gorolová, spokesperson for the Group of Women Harmed by Forced Sterilization, coordinator of the Human Rights Team of the Ostrava-based nonprofit organization Vzájemné soužití (Life Together) and civil society member of the Czech Government Council for Roma Community Affairs will be the first speaker on a panel including other victims of racial discrimination at the UN Durban Review Conference in Geneva. The event will be moderated by Ms Gay McDougall, UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues.
Elena Gorolová began to seek justice for herself and others five years ago, when she participated in a meeting of women who all had in common the fact that doctors in the former Czechoslovakia and the present-day Czech Republic had sterilized them without their informed consent under various misleading circumstances. The Czech Public Defender of Rights (the ombudsman), JUDr Otakar Motejl, recommended various corrections for this situation in his “Final Statement” on the issue in the year 2005. He found that in all the cases he had reviewed, the patients’ rights to integrity had been violated and serious flaws existed in the area of informed consent.
To this day, the government of the Czech Republic has yet to respect or apply these recommendations in the area of unjustified sterilizations of women from the Romani or any other ethnicity. The Czech government has not sufficiently guaranteed that similar practices will not occur in future. The state bears full responsibility for the failure to protect the human rights of these specific victims of illegal sterilizations and is the only subject that can guarantee the prevention of similar events in future. As not only the Czech ombudsman, but also various UN Committees (the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, etc.) have recommended, the government’s task is to arrange for the compensation due to the victims of these practices and to help them should they decide to initiate legal proceedings. The state should also arrange to investigate those responsible for these illegal practices.
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