Friday, August 01, 2008


The always precarious position of Roma throughout Europe is once again back in the news.

(pictured here is a Roma Child's depiction of persecution)

First, there is the issue of forced sterilization of Romani women which a UN committee is finally recognizing.

Then there is the tale of a fascist party in the Czech Republic with a proposed Final Solution for the Roma.

Take a deep breath and keep reading.

Romani women in Slovakia continue to be subject to grave violations of their human rights, particularly their reproductive rights.

Yesterday, finally, a UN committee has recognized and highlighted the forced sterilization of Romani women which has and continues to go on in the Slovak Republic.

This follows news earlier in July that a coalition comprised of the Ostrava, Czech-based Group of Women Harmed by sterilization, the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) and the Peacework Development Fund, were launching a global campaign seeking support for Romani women victimized by coerced sterilization practices in Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

The coalition says the governments concerned have failed to react, through public apologies and compensation for the harms inflicted upon Romani women despite five years of targeted advocacy and lobbying by the victims and their supporters.

The latest 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.

Meanwhile, a Czech fascist party which plans to be vying for power in future elections is releasing a "Final Solution" for the Romani.

The Czech National Party wants to succeed in the general elections in 2010 with radical anti-Romani rhetoric formulated in a 150-page study called "The Final Solution to the Gypsy Issue in the Czech Lands" that it will present this month.

The "nationalists" claim they do no want to kill the Romanies, but that they want to buy land in India and to relocate Romanies there.

According to the Prague Daily Monitor party spokesman Pavel Sedlacek says the word "final" that is connected with the study does not mean that the party would like to exterminate the Romanies, but because the matter should at last be tackled.

Ivan Vesely, deputy head of the Government Council for Romani Affairs and chairman of the Romani association Dzeno, has called on the the government to dissolve the ultra-right National Party (NS), the Romea association reported on its website Thursday.

Vesely at the same time filed a complaint against the National Party on suspicion of committing the crime of defamation of nation, race and conviction.

Vesely said the National Party committed the crime by publishing texts threatening the fundamental freedoms of Czech citizens of another nationality on its website.

He also criticised the paramilitary National Guard that the National Party established in February.

"The National Guard is organised on a strictly military principle. It is divided into separate units... the guard members are being trained and they receive a uniform and a knife," Vesely said.

The National Guard drew attention in June when its members were patrolling outside a school in Karlovy Vary, west Bohemia, allegedly to "protect" pupils from attacks by Romani children.

The National Guard members were also suspected of attacking the march of homosexuals in Brno in June.

Zdenek Marsicek (opposition Communists, KSCM), deputy head of the lower house defence committee, called on Interior Minister Ivan Langer (senior government Civic Democrats, ODS) in June to check whether the National Party violated the law on political parties by the National Guard establishment as the law bans parties from setting up armed units.

However, Langer said a month ago that he did not consider the establishment of the National Guard a reason for banning the National Party.

This is all news that would make a certain Mr. Hitler proud.

The following is from Roma Buzz Aggregator.


The UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women (Committee) calls the Slovak Government to take measures to acknowledge the complaints of forcibly sterilized Romani women and provide them with effective remedies.

The Slovak Government has failed to properly address and rectify the situation concerning Roma women who are exposed to constant pervasive prejudice and discrimination, in particular in reproductive and maternal health services. There is documented evidence showing that public hospitals segregate Roma women (placing them in Gypsy Rooms) and of verbal and physical abuse of Roma women by doctors and nurses, who refer to the women as dirty, stinky gypsies or young whores. Even more disturbing, Romani women have been subjected to forced and coerced sterilization. The Slovak government fails to respond or conduct an effective and transparent investigation into these practices.

Yesterday, the Committee issued its Concluding Observations on the Slovak compliance with the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which was reviewed by the Committee in July 2008. The Committee deplores the failure of the Slovak Government to recognize the practice of forced sterilizations and expressed its deep concern. The Committee recommended that the Slovak Government monitor sterilization procedures so as to ensure that the patient is able to provide fully informed consent before any sterilization procedure is carried out, and take appropriate sanctions in the event of a violation.

The Center for Civil and Human Rights (Poradna) and the International Federation on Human Rights (FIDH) welcome the findings and recommendations of the Committee that fully reflect the submissions of both organizations to the Committee. Vanda Durbáková, representative of Poradna commented: “the position of the Slovak Government on the practice of forced and coercive sterilization of Romani women must be changed. We call upon the Government to accept its full responsibility for the violations, provide remedies to the victims and punish the perpetrators. The Government must also adopt comprehensive measures to address the practice and our organizations are willing to assist the Government in the proc! ess. ”

Poradna has been assisting victims of forced sterilization since 2002 and initiated a number of legal proceedings on their behalf. It considers that the practice has never been effectively investigated, in violation of domestic and international legal standards.

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