Sterilised Romani women may receive compensation

Sterilised Romani women may receive compensation

The victims of illegal sterilisation, primarily Czech Romani women, may be compensated with 300,000 crowns by the state in the years to come under a bill drafted by the team of Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (Social Democrats, CSSD), the drafters have told journalists.

The women who were sterilised between July 1, 1966 and March 31, 2012 and did not give an informed consent to the surgery may be entitled to the compensation.

The legislation is also to cover the persons on whose behalf the decision was made by their guardian.

“The bill will set down rules that will help the victims who could not get it in court or in any other way be awarded compensation,” the drafters said.

They said not all the sterilisations were illegal and contradicted the previous regulations.

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) came up with the suspicion of forced sterilisations of mainly Romani women in the former Czechoslovakia in 2004. The Czech government’s human rights council recommended that compensation be introduced in 2006. In 2009, the Czech government apologised for the sterilisations.

International organisations criticise the Czech Republic for that the state violated the rights of some people, but has not compensated them.

The bill defines the period of almost 46 years to be eligible for the compensation and says illegal sterilisation was that on which people did not decide freely.

The drafters argue that it is not substantial whether the “manipulated decision” was associated with coercion, persuasion, threat with removing children or inaccurate information on the impact of the surgery.

It is not clear how many people may get the compensation. In 1989 alone, benefits for sterilisation were given to 803 people, including 419 Romani women, a report for the government said.

The costs of the compensation plan are estimated at tens to hundreds of million crowns.

Under the bill, the victims may receive an apology, 300,000 crowns in compensation and payment for treatment and rehabilitation due to the conception of a child.

The applications are to be sent to the Health Ministry that is to make a decision.

A nine-member commission, including lawyers, doctors and social workers, is to help the health minister decide on the applications.

The applications could be submitted within three years if the compensation law takes effect.


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