Tag: Coercive Sterilization

No End to Roma Exclusion? UN Committee Strongly Critical of Slovakia


By Bernard Rorke

The UN Human Rights Committee has once again called on Slovakia to acknowledge its responsibility for past practices of forced sterilisation of Romani women; to eradicate widespread de facto practices of school segregation; to ensure that evictions from public land “are a means of last resort”; and hold local authorities to account for segregationist policies and behaviour.

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When words fall on stony soil and hearts harden in the face of injustice: On coercive sterilisation and social theatre


By Marek Szilvasi

In Czechoslovakia coercive sterilisation policies primarily targeted groups that were considered a threat to the public health of society. Romani women were among these targeted groups, and  over a period of almost thirty years, hundreds of Romani women were either sterilised without their knowledge, or unduly pressured by doctors and social workers to ‘consent’ to sterilisation. It was a bitter and cruel historical twist that Czechoslovakia launched its eugenic program focused on limiting the reproductive capacities of its ‘problematic’ groups in the early 1970s, just when Sweden finally chose to abolish its coercive sterilisation policies. Sweden had the unsavoury distinction of being the first country to introduce eugenic laws in the 1930s, even before Nazi Germany or fascist Italy. Only in 1993 did Czech-Slovak authorities abolish such abusive state policies, but in the absence of any new comprehensive policy framework, the practice mushroomed and continued until early 2000.

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G.H. v Hungary: the Reproductive Rights Case We Lost in Strasbourg


By Judit Gellér and Adam Weiss

You are 22 weeks pregnant, with twins. You start bleeding heavily. When you arrive at the hospital, you find out you need an emergency Caesarean section. Your thoughts come in a panicked jumble.  Will the twins make it?  Will you make it? How long will this all take and who is looking after the other children in the meantime?  

The courts in Hungary thought this was a good time for you to agree to be permanently sterilised. The European Court of Human Rights agrees: you were “in a position to take an informed decision”.

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