On the occasion of International Roma Day, American Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick decorated lawyer Vanda Durbáková with the Woman of Courage award at the US Embassy in Bratislava on Monday, April 8.
Durbáková was representing an NGO called Advisory Centre for Civil and Human Rights (PĽOP), based in Košice, which has dealt with the protection of human rights since 2002 and was involved in the case involving the forcible sterilisation of Roma women. The activities of Durbáková and PĽOP contributed to three decisions made by the European Court for Human Rights, which confirmed that the rights of Roma women had been violated.
Sedqwick said, as quoted by the TASR newswire, that the award was given to the right person - a woman who took a stand, defending the rights of forcibly sterilised Roma women and monitoring cases of Roma discrimination in Slovakia. Sedgwick also broached her involvement in the case of segregation of Roma children at a school in Šarišské Michaľany, when the court ordered the school to cancel the special classes and put all children into mixed classes, instead.
"I do this work because I care about how my country treats minorities and want to effect a change in this behaviour," said Durbáková. American embassies all around the world award the international honour Woman of Courage to those females who "fight for social justice, women’s rights, lawfulness" and other facets of human rights.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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9. Apr 2013 at 10:00