Slovakia issues apology for forced sterilizations of Roma women

Thousands of Roma women were forcibly sterilized in Slovakia for decades, a practice that continued until 2004. Now the government has made a formal apology. The government of Slovakia has made a formal apology to the thousands of Roma women who were forcibly sterilized over several decades, the Slovakian news agency TASR reported on Wednesday. The governing coalition condemned the years of mistreatment of the ethnic minority. The government’s official for the Roma community, Andrea Buckova, said in a statement that the practice began in 1966 under communist rule, but also continued to some extent after 1991 despite the country’s adoption of protections for the Roma people. It was only in 2004 that laws were passed to ensure the validity of consent as many women had been unlawfully pressured or convinced to agree to sterilization without fully understanding the consequences. Although the true number of victims is not known, it is likely many thousands, Buckova said. Calls for reparations The human rights commissioner for the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatovic, welcomed the “apology to victims of forced sterilisation as a first important step,” in a message on Twitter. “I now look forward to quick progress on an accessible and effective compensation mechanism,” she added.

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