United Nations Committee against Torture Reviews Czech Republic

29 July 2004

On May 13, 2004, the United Na-tions Committee against Torture issued its Concluding Observations and Recommendations regarding Czech Republic's compliance with the United Nations Convention against Torture. The Committee expressed concern about "the per-sistent occurrence of acts of vio-lence against Roma and the alleged reluctance on the part of the Police to provide adequate protection and to investigate such crimes, despite efforts made by the State party to counter such acts". The CAT also expressed concern about "allegations regarding some inci-dents of uninformed and involuntary sterilizations of Roma women, as well as the government's inability to investigate due to the insufficient identification of the individual complainants." Further, the Committee recommended that Czech authorities:

a. exert additional efforts to combat racial intolerance and xenophobia and ensure that the comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation being dis-cussed includes all relevant grounds covered by the Convention;

b. take measures to establish an effective, reliable and independent complaint system to undertake prompt and impartial investigations into all allegations of ill-treatment or torture by police or other public officials, including allega-tions of racially motivated violence by non state actors, in particular any that have resulted in deaths, and to punish the offenders;

c. strengthen existing efforts to reduce occurrences of ill-treatment by police and other public officials, including that which is ethnically motivated, and, while ensuring protection of an individual's privacy, devise modalities of collecting data and monitoring the occurrence of such acts in order to address the issue more effectively;

d. strengthen safeguards provided in the Code of Criminal Procedure against ill-treatment and torture, and ensure that, in law as well as in practice, all persons deprived of their liberty be guar-anteed and systematically informed of the right to a lawyer and to notify next of kin; […]

e. investigate claims of involuntary sterilizations, using medical and personnel records and urge the complainants, to the degree feasible, to assist in substantiating the allegations; […]."

In the run-up to the Committee's review of Czech Republic, on April 16, 2004, the ERRC sub-mitted a letter of concern regarding instances of coerced sterilisations of Romani women. The full text of the Committee's Concluding Observations and Recommendations can be found on the Internet at: http://www.ohchr.org



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