The Public Defender of Rights drew the attention of the responsible state institutions and the general public to the fact that many illegally sterilized Roma women in Slovakia are still waiting for justice. Her press conference was also attended by representatives of our organization and affected Roma women.
At her meeting with media, the Public Defender presented an analysis in which she proposed how to ensure that unlawfully sterilized women have access to effective redress and adequate compensation. She considers an adoption of special legal provision to be the best solution in this respect.
She also supported the idea that the special legal provision would also include establishing an independent body tasked to identify cases of illegal sterilization and examine the overall scope of this practice both in Slovakia and in the former Czechoslovakia.
The meeting with the media was preceded by a meeting with the representatives of our NGO and two Roma women who were unlawfully sterilized. At the meeting we drew on our previous communication on this topic and talked about the specific solutions the Public Defender suggested in her analysis. The affected Roma women who attended the meeting talked about illegal sterilization and its negative impact on their lives. They also stressed that this serious violation of rights concerns many other Roma women.
Vanda Durbáková, an attorney cooperating with our NGO, also took part in the follow-up press conference of the Public Defender and talked also about our experience of providing legal assistance to illegally sterilized Roma women in court proceedings.
"Many unlawfully sterilized Roma women in Slovakia are still awaiting for an adequate redress from the state. We are glad that the Public Defender has identified with the proposals for the compensation of affected women that we have been pushing for in a long term. Now it's the turn of responsible institutions on government level that should initiate the preparation of a special legal provision," Durbáková said.
Illegally sterilized Roma women talked with the media at the press conference about their experience and what impact it has left on their lives.
The Public Defender of Rights addressed the proposed analysis to the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic, with whom she intends to further negotiate on the proposed steps.
The meeting with the Public Defender of Rights was possible to realize thanks to the financial support of the Slovak-Czech Women's Fund, who paid for our travel and accommodation costs in Bratislava.