Survivors and Advocates Launch Campaign for Compensation for Coercively Sterilized Romani Women
Wednesday, July 16, 2008 1:38 PM

In early July, members of the Group of Women Harmed by Sterilisation, together with advocates from the European Roma Rights Centre and Peacework Development Fund, launched a campaign seeking public recognition and compensation for Romani women survivors of coerced sterilization in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. The campaign was initiated in conjunction with the 2008 Women’s Worlds Congress in Madrid, Spain and was supported by the Open Society Institute’s Public Health Program and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Warsaw. At the Congress, activists from around the world attended a panel discussion presented by the survivors and signed postcards and letters addressed to the governments of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia urging them to address this issue. Simultaneous actions took place in the Czech Republic and Hungary.

The survivors and their advocates are seeking public apologies and compensation from the Czech, Hungarian and Slovak governments for sterilizations that have occurred in these three countries without the informed consent of the sterilized women. The European Roma Rights Centre has documented hundreds of such cases, including many that were carried out systematically as part of a program to reduce the birth rate of Romani women in Czechoslovakia between the 1970s and 1990. U.N. human rights bodies such as the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and the Human Rights Committee have recognized coerced sterilization in these countries as a human rights violation and made various recommendations to the governments involved, including ending these practices, investigating their occurrence, issuing an apology, and compensating survivors.

For more information on the campaign, click here.

Compiled from: “Hundreds of Activists Support Campaign for Compensation for Coercively Sterilised Romani Women,” European Roma Rights Centre, 15 July 2008; “Brochure: Coerced Sterilisation of Romani Women,” European Roma Rights Centre.