On the 4th of June 2021, the Czech lower house of Parliament approved a bill to compensate victims of forced sterilization. The bill offers compensation for women, predominantly Romani, who were forcibly or otherwise illegally sterilized in the Czech Republic and former Czechoslovakia. The cases first started to become publicly known about 15 years ago, and since then activists and, human rights organizations, including the Czech Helsinki Committee, were actively pushing for compensation.
Since 2005 Romani women have also been fighting for the Czech state to compensate them. However, all the previous efforts failed. This time, the lower house overwhelmingly approved the bill with 120 votes for and one vote against, while 29 Members of Parliament abstained. The Senate is expected to begin considering the bill next month. If approved, the victims would be able to apply for a one-off compensation payment of CZK 300 000 (around 12 000 euros).
The Czech Helsinki Committee welcomes this positive development – giving women a chance to finally get the justice they have been fighting for. However, while giving financial compensation to victims of forced sterilization is a significant development, we would also like to remind the Czech government of the importance of practical help. Particularly, the role of the institutions, such as the Ministry of Health, should not be underestimated in working closely with victims.
Director of the Czech Helsinki Committee