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ECHR rejects forced sterilisation complaint

THE EUROPEAN Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected a complaint by a Slovak woman who alleged that her rights were violated when she was involuntarily sterilised while giving birth in a hospital in Prešov in 1993 with a ruling issued on April 1. The ECHR agreed with reasoning by the Slovak government and deemed the woman’s complaint to be manifestly unfounded, Justice Ministry spokeswoman Alexandra Donevová told the TASR newswire on April 24.

THE EUROPEAN Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected a complaint by a Slovak woman who alleged that her rights were violated when she was involuntarily sterilised while giving birth in a hospital in Prešov in 1993 with a ruling issued on April 1. The ECHR agreed with reasoning by the Slovak government and deemed the woman’s complaint to be manifestly unfounded, Justice Ministry spokeswoman Alexandra Donevová told the TASR newswire on April 24.

The woman, identified as Z.K., is of Roma ethnic origin and was born in 1975. She was represented before the court by Vanda Durbáková and Barbora Bukovská, lawyers acting in cooperation with the Centre for Civil and Human Rights, a non-governmental organisation with its registered office in Košice, according to the ECHR ruling.

Z.K. was complaining that she was the victim of forced and unlawful sterilisation in a public hospital and that the Slovak authorities had failed to undertake a thorough, effective and prompt investigation into the circumstances of her sterilisation. Moreover, she complained that her sterilisation had been unlawful and had seriously interfered with her private and family life, and that she had been denied her right to found a family as a result of her sterilisation. She also alleged that her sterilisation had been based on grounds of sex, race, colour, and/or membership of a national minority and ethnicity, the ECHR ruling reads.

She based her complaint on the surgery record drawn up in relation to the delivery of her second child which indicates that she underwent a sterilisation operation on February 22 1993, as well as on the fact that the representatives of the Prešov hospital did not contest the correctness of that entry at the initial stage of the civil proceedings. She further relied on expert opinions which were based on the medical records drawn up during her stay in the hospital.

The woman cited a record of an operation whereby she was allegedly sterilised, and she claimed that this document was part of her medical documentation. No such record was found, however, and an X-ray examination on the woman going back to 2003 found no traces of sterilisation. The woman declined to undergo further medical tests, TASR wrote.

Both a criminal complaint and a constitutional complaint that the woman filed in Slovakia were rejected. ECHR concluded that Slovak courts undertook sufficient measures to ascertain the facts of the matter, TASR reported.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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