The Center for Reproductive Rights congratulates the Czech Republic on being the first country in the region to acknowledge that Roma women have been forcibly sterilized.
In a resolution adopted on November 23, the Czech government expressed regret over forced sterilizations. The resolution also includes measures to prevent these abuses from happening again.
While these measures, which must be developed before the end of the year, are an important step forward, we call on the Czech government to also provide adequate compensation to the women who have been sterilized against their will.
In 2003, the Center and Poradna, a Slovakian NGO, published Body and Soul: Forced Sterilization and Other Assaults on Roma Reproductive Freedom, a report that documented forced sterilizations in Slovakia.
The report brought substantial international attention to the issue, helping to expose coerced and forced sterilization of Roma women as a problem not only in Slovakia, but also in the Czech Republic and other countries in the region. The report also spurred civil society into taking action, including litigation.
We hope that this positive development in the Czech Republic will be an impetus for other countries to investigate forced sterilizations, implement measures to prevent the practice, and provide redress to the women who have been affected.