MINELRES: ERRC: UN Presses Czech Republic on Coercive Sterilisation of Romani Women

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Tue Sep 5 08:01:22 2006

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women 
Recommends Urgent Government Action to End Coercive Sterilisation, 
Including Changes to Law and Remedy to Victims

Budapest, Prague, 1 September 2006. The organisations European Roma 
Rights Centre (ERRC), League of Human Rights, and Life Together today 
welcomed the Concluding Comments of the United Nations Committee on 
the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on the Czech 
Republic's compliance with international law in the area of banning 
discrimination against women, issued on 25 August 2006. The comments 
followed the Committee's review of the Czech Republic at its 36th 
session, held in August.

In its Comments, the Committee commended the Czech government for 
several aspects of its work to combat discrimination against women. 
However, it expressed serious concerns in a number of areas, 
including on the problem of coercive sterilisation of Romani women by 
Czech doctors.

On these matters, the Committee stated: "The Committee is 
particularly concerned about the report, of December 2005, by the 
Ombudsman (Public Defender) regarding uninformed and involuntary 
sterilization of Roma women and the lack of urgent Government action 
to implement the recommendations contained in the Ombudsman's report 
and to adopt legislative changes on informed consent to sterilization 
as well as to provide justice for victims of such acts undertaken 
without consent."

The Committee urged the Czech government to "take urgent action to 
implement the recommendations of the Ombudsman/Public Defender with 
regard to involuntary or coercive sterilization, and adopt without 
delay legislative changes with regard to sterilization."

The Committee further told the government that it should "provide 
ongoing and mandatory training of medical professionals and social 
workers on patients' rights" and "elaborate measures of compensation 
to victims of involuntary or coercive sterilization" and "provide 
redress to Roma women victims of involuntary or coercive 
sterilization and prevent further involuntary or coercive

Finally, the Committee requested that the Czech government "report on 
the situation of Roma women pertaining to issue of coercive or 
involuntary sterilization, in its next periodic report, including a 
detailed assessment of the impact of measures taken and results

The Committee also commented at length on the problems of multiple 
discrimination against Romani women in various sectoral fields, as 
well as on the inadequacy of Czech law banning discrimination. The 
Committee also issued a number of recommendations in these and other

The full text of the CEDAW Committee's Concluding Comments is 
available at: 

In the run-up to the CEDAW review, NGO partners provided detailed 
documentation to the UN CEDAW Committee in the form of an NGO Shadow 
Report by the League of Human Rights, European Roma Rights Centre, 
and Gender Studies. The report addresses a number of categories of 
serious human rights abuses of women, including extreme forms of 
abuse such as domestic violence and coercive sterilization, as well 
as very problematic law, policy, and practice in a number of areas of 
relevance to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of 
Discrimination Against Women. The NGO Shadow Report is available at:

The Czech Ombudsman's report on the coercive sterilization of Romani 
women is available at:


Gwendolyn Albert, Director, League of Human Rights, galbert@llp.cz, + 
420 777 621 227

Ostalinda Maya Ovalle, Women's Rights Officer, European Roma Rights 
Centre, ostalinda@errc.org, +36 1 41 32 200, + 36 70 60 258 31

Kumar Vishwanathan, Director, Life Together, 
vzajemne.souziti@tiscali.cz, +420 77 77 601 91

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is an international public 
interest law organization engaging in a range of activities aimed at 
combating anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma, in 
particular strategic litigation, international advocacy, research and 
policy development, and training of Romani activists. For more 
information about the European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC 
website at http://www.errc.org.

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel.: ++ (36 1) 413 2200
Fax: ++ (36 1) 413 2201
E-mail: office@errc.org

The League of Human Rights is a non-governmental organisation 
providing free legal and psychological assistance to victims of gross 
human rights violations, in particular to members of the Roma 
minority, victims of domestic violence and children. Its mission is 
to create a future in which the Czech state actively protects the 
human rights of its citizenry and respects both the spirit and the 
letter of the international human rights conventions to which it is

League of Human Rights
Bratislavska 31
Na Rybnicku 16
120 00, Praha 2
Czech Republic
tel: +420 224 816 765
fax +420 224 941 092
E-mail: galbert@llp.cz

Life Together is a Czech Romani organisation fighting social 
exclusion and marginalisation in the Ostrava region of the Czech 
Republic, as well as strengthening Czech-Roma mutual confidence and 

Life Together
30. Dubna 3
Ostrava 70200
Czech Republic
Tel: ++ 420 77 77 60 191

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