Monday, November 23, 2009



Prague - Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer "expressed regret" over the forced sterilization of Roma women but failed to apologize to the victims or offer them financial compensation, officials said Monday. During the Communist era, authorities in the former Czechoslovakia had been actively pushing sterilization of Roma women as part of the country's population policy, human rights activists said.

Some Czech doctors continued the practice after the Communist regime fell in 1989. Most claimed they acted out of health reasons, but failed to properly explain the consequences of the surgical procedure to their patients.

"The government expresses regret for known individual misconduct while carrying out sterilization," Human Rights Minister Michael Kocab said after the Monday's cabinet session.

It is not known how many Roma women were sterilized during and after the Communist era.

The office of the country's ombudsman reviewed some 80 cases in recent years. Several affected Roma women sued Czech hospitals in courts with varying degrees of success.

Infertility is painful for the Roma, also known as gypsies, as they prefer to have large families.

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