Czech Senate approves compensation for illegally sterilized women

A total of CZK 120 million could be paid to women who were sterilized between 1966 and 2012.

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 22.07.2021 15:47 (updated on 22.07.2021)

Women who were illegally sterilized between 1966 and 2012 will probably be entitled to compensation. If they can prove their claim, they will receive CZK 300,000 under a bill approved by the Czech Senate today. It now must be signed by President Miloš Zeman before it can take effect.

The possibility of compensation applies to women who were sterilized in what is now the Czech Republic between July 1, 1966, and 31 March 2012, the period from the entry into force of the Public Health Act until the adoption of a new standard for medical procedures. According to the bill’s supporters, women were not able to decide freely for sterilization but did so based on the threat of having their children taken away or losing social benefits.

According to the draft law, the affected women can submit an application from next year, they will have three years to do so, lower house Deputy Helena Válková (ANO), the co-author of the law, told the senators. According to the Válková, the law prohibits the shredding of medical records of these women for a period of 10 years.

Applications will be assessed by the Health Ministry. A free legal appeal would be possible against a negative decision of the ministry. Compensation will not be subject to taxation. According to the authors of the parliamentary text, the compensation could cover about 400 people. The state could therefore pay about CZK 120 million in compensation.

The suspicion of forced sterilization in the Czech Republic, especially by Romani women, was published in 2004 by the European Center for Roma Rights. Dozens of women then reported to the Ombudsman’s Office, and some even went to court. The government's anti-torture committee proposed introducing compensation as early as 2006. In 2009, the then-cabinet apologized for the illegal operations.

The draft law as approved by the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house on Parliament, in early May.

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.  

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