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Sen. Sam Brownback, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
August 7, 2006


Expert to Testify on Sterilization of Romani Women without Informed Consent

(Washington) – During the 1970s and 1980s, the Czechoslovak Government pursued a policy aimed at reducing the birthrate of Roma, including by targeting some Romani women for sterilization.  Although it was generally assumed that the practice of sterilizing Romani women without their consent had stopped after the fall of communism, allegations that this practice had not definitively ended persisted throughout the 1990s, in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  On December 23, 2005, the Czech Public Defender of Rights issued a report confirming that some women had been sterilized without informed consent.  The Czech Government has not yet acted on the Public Defender’s recommendations. 
In order to examine this issue more fully, the Helsinki Commission will hold a briefing on the state of the investigation into sterilization in the Czech Republic.
In particular, the briefing will address:
    • The investigations into sterilization practices in the Czech Republic;
    • The impact of sterilizations without informed consent on victims; and
    • Recommendations for further action.
    The Sterilization Investigation in the Czech Republic
             Tuesday, August 15, 2006
          2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
      2255 Rayburn House Office Building
 Gwendolyn Albert, Director, League of Human Rights (Prague)
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the U.S. Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Final Act and other commitments of the 56 participating States in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Media Contact: Shelly Han or Mark Kearney
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