“The World As Seen By Victims of
Coercive Sterilization” Opens in
This weekend two members of the Group of Women Harmed by Sterilization traveled to Sweden, where an exhibition of photographs taken by members of the Group entitled “The World As Seen By Victims of Sterilization” has opened as part of the Romani Women’s Rights Conference taking place December 3 – 4 at Lejondals Castle in Stockholm under the auspices of the Council of Europe, the Swedish Ministry for Integration and Gender Equality, and the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA).
In 2006 the exhibition was
displayed at the
The purpose of the exhibition is to remind the public not only that the women who took the photographs are suing hospitals in the Czech Republic for having sterilized them without their informed consent, but that they are first and foremost ordinary people whose physical and mental integrity was violated by these illegal medical procedures. “A woman deprived of her ability to give birth without her consent feels completely differently from women who can choose to give birth freely,” said Elena Gorolová, spokesperson for the Group of Women Harmed by Sterilization.
The coercive sterilization complaints have been researched by the Czech Public Defender of Rights (the ombudsman), who in 2005 arrived at the conclusion that, in the cases under his review, the women’s rights had been violated and there were serious deficiencies as far as the informed consent of the patients to the operation was concerned. The UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) issued its recommendations on the matter in August 2006. This year the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the UN Human Rights Committee also issued similar recommendations. All of these institutions called on the Czech government to urgently address the injustice committed against these women and to make sure such violations never occur again by upgrading existing legislation and compensating the victims. To date, the Czech government has not responded to any of these recommendations.
Two coercive sterilization cases
were ruled on by the courts this year.
At the start of 2007, the High Court in
The conference in
Important Links and Contacts:
Gwendolyn Albert tel +420 774 895 444
The Peacework Development Fund www.peacework.org
Elena Gorolová (Czech only), +420 603 921 255
Group of Women Harmed by Sterilization
Vzájemné soužití www.vzajemnesouziti.cz
Tel. +420 596 111 894, +420 777 760 191
Swedish Ministry of Integration and Gender Equality
EU Fundamental Rights Agency
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