CEDAW Committee Reviews Czech Republic

13 November 2006

On 25 August 2006, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) issued its Concluding Comments on Czech Republic's compliance with international law in the area of banning discrimination against women. In its Comments, the Committee commended the Czech government for several aspects of its work to combat discrimination against women. However, it expressed serious concerns in a number of areas, including on the problem of coercive sterilisation of Romani women by Czech doctors.

On these matters, the Committee stated: "The Committee is particularly concerned about the report, of December 2005, by the Ombudsman (Public Defender) regarding uninformed and involuntary sterilization of Roma women and the lack of urgent Government action to implement the recommendations contained in the Ombudsman's report and to adopt legislative changes on informed consent to sterilization as well as to provide justice for victims of such acts undertaken without consent."

The Committee urged the Czech government to "take urgent action to implement the recommendations of the Ombudsman/Public Defender with regard to involuntary or coercive sterilization, and adopt without delay legislative changes with regard to sterilization." The Committee further told the government that it should "provide ongoing and mandatory training of medical professionals and social workers on patients' rights" and "elaborate measures of compensation to victims of involuntary or coercive sterilization" and "provide redress to Roma women victims of involuntary or coercive sterilization and prevent further involuntary or coercive sterilizations."

Finally, the Committee requested that the Czech government "report on the situation of Roma women pertaining to issue of coercive or involuntary sterilization, in its next periodic report, including a detailed assessment of the impact of measures taken and results achieved." The Committee also commented at length on the problems of multiple discrimination against Romani women in various sectoral fields, as well as on the inadequacy of Czech law banning discrimination. The Committee also issued a number of recommendations in these and other areas.

In the run-up to the CEDAW review, the ERRC, the League of Human Rights, and Gender Studies submitted a parallel report addressing a number of categories of serious human rights abuses of women, including extreme forms of abuse such as domestic violence and coercive sterilization, as well as very problematic law, policy, and practice in a number of areas of relevance to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The Report is available at: http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2136.
The full text of the CEDAW Committee's Concluding Comments is available HERE.



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