Petr Dubinsky

Bill To Compensate Forcibly Sterilized Roma Passes

Illegally sterilized women are likely to be entitled to compensation. Today, the Chamber of Deputies approved legislation which envisages a one time payment of 300,000 crowns. The draft will now be submitted to the Senate for consideration.

The proposal defines a period of almost 46 years from the entry into force of the Public Health Act until the adoption of a new standard for medical interventions. Compensation could be awarded to women who underwent sterilization between 1 July 1966 and 31 March 2012. They did not have to freely decide to sterilize, but reasoned, but after persuading or threatening to take children or benefits. According to the proposal, the victims would submit the application within three years of the effective date of the law.

Applications would be assessed by the Ministry of Health. A free lawsuit would be possible against the verdict of the Minister in appeal proceedings. Compensation would not be subject to taxation.

ANO MP Pavel Plzák asked what the illegality of sterilization was and how many doctors were tried for this procedure. According to Monika Jarošová (SPD), even at that time it was not possible to just sterilize someone, there had to be consent. Pirate Olga Richterová objected that about 15 years ago it was proven that women were sterilized without proper consent. “Situations have been proven where it was completely contrary to the law, completely contrary to the wishes of those women,” she said. According to the People’s Deputy Jan Čižinský, the law should not be perceived as an attack on doctors.

“The law is supposed to eliminate the mistake of the communist system. It has nothing to do with the field of gynecology and gynecology,” said Bohuslav Svoboda (ODS). However, Communist MP Leo Luzar said, referring to the Ombudsman’s opinion, that doctors had in some cases acted in violation of the regulations at the time.

According to the authors of the model, up to 400 people could be compensated, and men could also be entitled. The state could therefore pay a maximum of 120 million crowns. ANO MP Eva Matyášová stated on behalf of the petitioner that the Ombudsman registered one hundred applications for compensation.

The European Center for Roma Rights came to suspicion of forced sterilization in the Czech Republic, especially of Romani women, in 2004. Dozens of women then reported to the Ombudsman, some even turned to the courts. The government’s anti-torture committee proposed introducing compensation as early as 2006. In 2009, the then cabinet apologized for the illegal actions.

A similar draft was prepared in the last election period by the then Minister for Human Rights Jiří Dienstbier (ČSSD). But the government rejected it.