MPs continue discussion on compensating unlawfully sterilised women

The lower house of Parliament continued discussion Thursday on a bill to compensate women unlawfully sterilised mainly by the former regime. If the bill is adopted, victims – mainly Romani women – could apply for a one-off payment of CZK 300,000.

Beginning in 1966, Romani women and others where systematically sterilised without their full and informed consent as a way of controlling their birth rate. State policy in Czechoslovakia fully regulated the practice in 1971, as the Czech Public Defender of Rights noted in a 2005 report.

The statute of limitations on financial compensation for non-pecuniary damage is three years. Without special treatment from a judge, hundreds of victims would therefore be ineligible for compensation. Women who underwent sterilisation between 1 July 1966 and 31 March 2012 are eligible for compensation. According the bill's authors, up to 400 people could apply.

Author: Brian Kenety