“I regret the Czech government’s decision not to proceed with the adoption of the law allowing the granting of compensation to the Roma women who were victims of forced sterilisations,” said today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, making public a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr Bohuslav Sobotka on 6 October 2015.
The involuntary sterilisation of Roma women without their full and informed consent has been a persistent problem in the Czech Republic. In his 2011 report, the previous Commissioner for Human Rights, while welcoming the expression of regret by the Czech authorities for this unlawful practice, deplored the lack of an effective domestic mechanism to enable victims to seek and obtain compensation for the harm they had suffered. According to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, such practices violate the human freedom and dignity of the victims, thus constituting serious human rights violations and therefore governments are obliged to establish accessible and effective mechanisms to obtain reparations.
Commissioner Muižnieks was informed that earlier this year, the Czech authorities prepared a new bill allowing a review of individual claims of involuntarily sterilised women to receive compensation. “I believe that this piece of legislation, if adopted, has the potential, even belatedly, to provide adequate redress to the Roma women who were victims of forced sterilisations,” said the Commissioner.