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Hundreds of Activists Support Campaign for Compensation for Coercively Sterilised Romani Women

15 July 2008

Romani Women's Rights Coalition Successfully Reaches Global Women's Movement

Budapest, Prague, Ostrava: Starting at the beginning of July, members of the Ostrava-based Group of Women Harmed by Sterilisation and their advocates from European Roma Rights Centre and Peacework Development Fund initiated a campaign to activate the global women's rights movement in lobbying efforts for public recognition of coerced sterilisation and compensation for Romani survivors of these practices in Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

The campaign was launched around the 2008 Women's Worlds Congress in Madrid, Spain, which brought together thousands of women's rights advocates from around the world, and was supported by the Open Society Institute's Public Health Program and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Warsaw.

During the Congress, supported by simultaneous actions in Czech Republic and Hungary, activists from more than 40 countries signed and sent hundreds of postcards and letters to the Czech, Hungarian and Slovak governments urging them to respond to calls for public apologies and compensation for coerced sterilisation survivors.

The survivors and their advocates turned to the global human rights movement to strengthen their efforts to secure justice after the governments concerned failed to react, through public apologies and compensation for the harms inflicted upon Romani women, to 5 years of targeted advocacy and lobbying by the victims and their advocates.

During a panel discussion at the Congress on the issue, the survivors informed women's rights activists, academics and politicians about the coercive sterilisation of Romani women in Central Europe, generating an invigorating discussion, with women from around the world sharing their knowledge about similar abuses elsewhere.

The coerced sterilisation of Romani women in Central Europe was highlighted in the concluding session of the Congress and will feature in the concluding recommendations coming out of the Congress, at: http://www.mmww08.org/. The issue is also featured in the documentary film, “Trial of a Child Denied” by Mortal Coil Media, which aired on CNN between 9 and 13 July (see: Here).

The survivors gained much strength from the strong support they received from NGOs, human rights advocates from around the world and different media outlets during the Congress. “Don’t give up, fight on,” is the message that Elena Gorolova, spokesperson for the Group of Women Harmed by Sterilisation would like to send to all who demand redress for the harms they have suffered.

The letters of support for the survivors to the Czech, Hungarian and Slovak governments are available for download on the ERRC’s website, together with comprehensive information about the practice and the Congress. (See: http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2965.)

Information also in česky View it (Acrobat pdf format)! and español View it (Acrobat pdf format)!.

For further information, please contact: 

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ERRC submission to UN HRC on Hungary (February 2018)

14 February 2018

Written Comments of the European Roma Rights Centre concerning Hungary to the UN Human Rights Committee for consideration at its 122nd session (12 Narch - 6 April 2018).

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The Fragility of Professional Competence: A Preliminary Account of Child Protection Practice with Romani and Traveller Children in England

24 January 2018

Romani and Traveller children in England are much more likely to be taken into state care than the majority population, and the numbers are rising. Between 2009 and 2016 the number of Irish Travellers in care has risen by 400% and the number of Romani children has risen 933%. The increases are not consistent with national trends, and when compared to population data, suggest that Romani and Traveller children living in the UK could be 3 times more likely be taken into public care than any other child. 

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Families Divided: Romani and Egyptian Children in Albanian Institutions

21 November 2017

There’s a high percentage of Romani and Egyptian children in children’s homes in Albania – a disproportionate number. These children are often put into institutions because of poverty, and then find it impossible ever to return to their families. Because of centuries of discrimination Roma and Egyptians in Albania are less likely to live in adequate housing, less likely to be employed and more likely to feel the effects of extreme poverty.

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