Czech Republic: NGO Shadow Report to UN CEDAW Committee
Friday, September 8, 2006 10:35 AM

A shadow report has been filed on behalf of the Czech Republic to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).  It was written for the consideration of the committee at the August 2006 session.  This report reviews the human rights violations against women in the Czech Republic, focusing largely on the Romani, as observed by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), Gender Studies, and the League of Human Rights.

The report stressed the human rights violations against all women, but also focused on specific violence against the population of Romani women.  Some serious claims in the report are the following:

  • Forced sterilization of Romani women: practiced beginning in the Communist era, and most recently in 2001 (for documented cases)
  • Domestic violence: insufficient training of professionals, therapeutic programs for victims and perpetrators, victim services in various regions, comprehensive services, investigation, and protection from “stalking”
  • Legal protection from discrimination: no comprehensive anti-discrimination law, very few cases reviewed by Czech authorities and even fewer with positive results
  • Government policy: push for equality has been almost completely at the NGO level.  there is little public awareness and representatives are unhelpful in promoting gender equality.  More serious problems occur with the Romani women.
  • Low participation of women: both in government/public life and the study of science and technology.  There is no law helping women increase their representation in the governmental bodies and education is still segregated, giving Romani children less of an opportunity.
  • Child support: a bill requiring payment of child support has been rejected, making the situation of single mothers more difficult.  The Czech Republic also has the highest rates of small children placed in state care.

This report illustrates that there is much progress to be made in the Czech Republic regarding its treatment of women.  In response to this report, ERRC states that CEDAW has strongly advised the Czech government to implement reforms in the area of sterilization, including better and ongoing training of professionals, compensation to victims, and legislation regarding consent.  They also ask for the implementation of discrimination laws.

The full Shadow Report is available for download here.