Hundreds of Activists Support Campaign for Compensation for Coercively
Sterilised Romani Women|
At the beginning of July, members of the Ostrava-based Group of Women Harmed
by Coercive 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
After five years of targeted advocacy and lobbying of the governments
concerned, the survivors and their advocates turned to the global human
rights movement to strengthen their efforts to secure justice, as the
governments have failed to provide either public apologies or compensation
for the harms inflicted upon Romani women.
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 (for a link to
the film please
The survivors gained much strength from the strong support they received
from NGOs and human rights advocates from around the world during the
Congress. “Don’t give up, fight on,” is the message that Elena Gorolova,
spokesperson for the Group of Women Harmed by Coercive 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: