In April a Commission on Cooperation & Security in Europe (aka the US Helsinki Commission) press release reported that European Court on Human Rights had issued a decision awarding damages to eight Romani women. The plaintiffs had sued the Slovak Government in connection with investigations into sterilization without informed consent.
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission stated, “I have personally expressed my concern to both Czech and Slovak officials regarding the sterilization without informed consent of Romani women. Neither government has done enough to acknowledge this past practice or to provide victims with remedies."
According to the release the Czechoslovak communist state that targeted orifinally Romani women for sterilization. While the policy officially ended with the fall of communism, the practice continued in both the Czech and Slovak Republics.
As late as October 2000 Slovak Government national strategy paper reportedly stated, “[i]f we do not succeed in integrating the Romani population and modify their reproduction[,] the percentage of nonqualified and handicapped persons in the population will increase.”
In 2001, the spokesperson for the Slovakian Minister for Human Rights and National Minorities threatened that women who came forward alleging wrongful sterilization would go to jail. That year Romani activist Alexander Patkolo was threatened with the criminal charge of “spreading alarming information” for even suggesting that Romani women had been sterilized without informed consent.
In 2002, (then)opposition MP Robert Fico ran on a parliamentary campaign pledge to “actively effect the irresponsible growth of the Roman[i] population.” Robert Fico is now Prime Minister of Slovakia, supported by a coalition including vile right wing demagogues like Jan Slota.
On December 13, 2006, Slovakia’s highest court ruled that the regional prosecution’s investigation in the cases of three Romani women alleging wrongful sterilization had been so faulty that it violated both the Slovak Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.