Protecting Roma women and children

The Center for Civil and Human Rights, known as Poradňa, addresses gender and racial discrimination and reproductive rights violations of Roma women in Slovakia through field monitoring, strategic litigation and lobbying at domestic and international institutions. Its legal cases challenge the humiliation and segregation of Roma women in hospitals, forced sterilisations, discrimination of Roma children in education, and police violence.

Poradňa also conducts joint advocacy activities with a group of local Roma women activists, ensuring that their experiences are central to the work and that they are able to advocate directly for themselves. Together they have sought redress for Roma women who were illegally sterilised in hospitals during childbirth without their informed consent. With Poradňa’s support, a number of these women have achieved justice before courts, including at the European Court of Human Rights. 

In 2019, as a result of Poradňa’s advocacy, the Slovak Ombudswoman was the first Slovak state authority to fully acknowledge this issue, and urged the government to introduce legislation to provide redress for survivors of forced sterilisations.

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