The Slovak non-governmental organisation the Advisory Centre for Civil and Human Rights has received a French annual award, Freedom, Equality, Fraternity (Liberté - Egalité – Fraternité), for its activities in the area of human rights protection. The Košice-based organisation is the first from the former communist countries of Europe to be awarded this prize, the SITA newswire reported on December 11.
“[The centre’s] brave and determined actions in favour of Roma women sterilised without their informed consent and its protection of minorities and fight against discrimination entitle it to get this award as the very first Slovak NGO,” said French Ambassador to Slovakia Jean-Marie Bruno, as quoted in an official press release.
The ceremony took place in Paris on December 11, marking the International Day of Human Rights. The centre was represented by lawyer Vanda Durbáková, who stressed that though it is not the award that motivates their activities the centre really appreciates the recognition. She added that it is encouragement for them to continue “protecting the rights of those who face discrimination and violation of human rights in Slovakia”.
“This award is symbolic for us since it comes at a time when, after 10 years of fighting against the forced sterilisations, the European Court of Human Rights finally convicted Slovakia for this practice and reimbursed some Roma women,” Durbáková stressed. “These rulings represent hope for us and many forcibly sterilised Roma women that the Slovak government will finally pay the necessary attention to this whole issue.”
The French Commission for Human Rights, which servers as an advisory body of the French government, has been awarding the prizes since 1988 for individual or collective merit in the area of human rights protection.
Sources: SITA, press release of the French Embassy to Slovakia
For more information about the story of forced sterilisations please see: ECHR confirms forced sterilisations took place
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
12. Dec 2012 at 10:00