Elena Gorolová, spokesperson for the Group of Women Harmed by Forced Sterilization travels to Geneva to present at the UN Durban Review Conference

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Lundi 20 Avril 2009

Elena Gorolová, spokesperson for the Group of Women Harmed by Forced Sterilization   travels to Geneva to present at the UN Durban Review Conference


Press Release


Elena Gorolová, spokesperson for the Group of Women Harmed by Forced Sterilization

 travels to Geneva to present at the UN Durban Review Conference


Presentation by this fighter for women’s rights to take place 21 April 2009


Elena Gorolová, spokesperson for the Group of Women Harmed by Forced Sterilization, coordinator of the Human Rights Team of the Ostrava-based nonprofit organization Vzájemné soužití (Life Together) and civil society member of the Czech Government Council for Roma Community Affairs will be the first speaker on a panel including other victims of racial discrimination from the USA and Zimbabwe. The event will be moderated by Ms Gay McDougall, UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues. The panel is part of a week-long event entitled VOICES taking place as part of the Durban Review Conference on Racism at the UN in Geneva from 20 – 24.4 (see program below).


Elena Gorolová began to seek justice for herself and others five years ago, when she participated in a meeting of women who all had in common the fact that doctors in the former Czechoslovakia and the present-day Czech Republic had sterilized them without their informed consent under various misleading circumstances. The Czech Public Defender of Rights (the ombudsman), JUDr Otakar Motejl, recommended various corrections for this situation in his “Final Statement” on the issue in the year 2005. He found that in all the cases he had reviewed, the patients’ rights to integrity had been violated and serious flaws existed in the area of informed consent. The English translation of his “Final Statement” on these unjustified sterilizations can be found here:


To this day, the government of the Czech Republic has yet to respect or apply these recommendations in the area of unjustified sterilizations of women from the Romani or any other ethnicity. The Czech government has not sufficiently guaranteed that similar practices will not occur in future. The state bears full responsibility for the failure to protect the human rights of these specific victims of illegal sterilizations and is the only subject that can guarantee the prevention of similar events in future. As not only the Czech ombudsman, but also various UN Committees (the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, etc.) have recommended, the government’s task is to arrange for the compensation due to the victims of these practices and to help them should they decide to initiate legal proceedings. The state should also arrange to investigate those responsible for these illegal practices.


For more information, please contact:

Elena Gorolová (Czech or Romanes only), mobile: + 420 775 761 194, email:


Gwendolyn Albert (Czech or English), mobile: +420 774 895 444, email:,


Orsolya Toth (English), Human Rights Officer, Civil and Political Rights Section

Special Procedures Division

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

tel: + 41 22 917 91 51






¢Everyone affected by racism has a story that should be heard¢


Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance damage lives, families and societies. Putting emphasis on those who suffer the consequences is a key objective of the 2001 Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.




provides a platform for individuals from diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds to share their experiences and gives a human face to issues addressed by the Durban Review Conference. Fifteen individual VOICES offer a personal and inspirational reminder of the necessity for the continuous fight against racism.




illustrates the universality of racism and the suffering it causes. Participants will relate their experiences of racially motivated violence, exclusion and poverty caused by discrimination and racism, their situation as minority and indigenous peoples and their particular experiences as women facing racism.       




was a powerful addition to the World Conference Against Racism in 2001. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is pleased to replicate this event during the Durban Review Conference. VOICES is moderated by Ms. Gay McDougall, UN Independent Expert on minority issues.







See programme on the reverse side


 ‛Everyone affected by racism has a story that should be heard’



20 April 2009

2.30pm – 4pm


21 April 2009

1.15pm – 2.45 pm


22 April 2009

1.15pm – 2.45 pm


23 April 2009

1.15pm – 2.45 pm


24 April 2009

1.15pm – 2.45 pm


Al Shaymaa J. Kwegyir

is living with albinism in Tanzania and has suffered from numerous forms of discrimination. She has fought to defend albinos’ rights and is the first albino Member of Parliament.



Geiler Romaña

was forcibly displaced from his home by armed groups. As afro-descendants, he and his family experienced diverse forms of racism in Colombia. He founded an association for the rights afro-descendants.


Sarah White

suffered years of abuse as an afro-American worker in Mississippi catfish plants. Today, she is the President of the board of directors of the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights.




Ms. Kyung Wha-Kang, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights


Elena Gorolova

is spokesperson for the Group of Women Harmed by Sterilization in the Czech Republic. They initiated a campaign to gain public recognition of coerced sterilization and compensation for Roma survivors of these practices.


Robert Wilkins

was the lead plaintiff in Wilkins, et al. v. State of Maryland, winning a landmark settlement in a “racial profiling” case, inspiring the US Congress and states all over the country.



Jenni Williams

comes from a mixed race family and has suffered from racial discrimination all her life. In 2002, she founded WOZA, a Zimbabwean women’s movement, helping women to claim their human rights.




Mr. Githu Muigai, SR on contemporary forms of racism



Khalid Hussain

faced daily discrimination as a Bihari Urdu speaker in a camp in Bangladesh with no adequate access to basic health services, water and sanitation. He gained education and a passport by denying his identity.



Mariama Oumarou

is a dark-skinned Tuareg woman from Niger. Like her mother and grandmother, she grew up as a slave to lighter skinned Tuaregs. She was freed in 2001 and lives today with her family.



Barbara Shaw

is an Aboriginal rights activist. She has experienced discrimination as an Indigenous person and as a result of her indigenous rights activities in the Northern Territory of Australia.  





Ms. Gulnara Shahinian, SR on contemporary forms of slavery


Datu Cosma Lambayon

is a tribal leader of the Matigsalug-Manobo tribe of Kitaotao in the Philippines. He heads an organization of indigenous peoples’ elders who lobbied for the Indigenous Peoples Rights Acts.



Creuza Maria de Oliveria  

was ten when she was sent as a domestic worker to a white family in Bahia, Brazil, to take care of their children. She did not have access to education, worked without wages, and suffered physical violence.



Fakteh Luna Zamani

is engaged in the defence of the rights of Azerbaijani’s and other Iranian minorities. She founded the “Association for the Defence of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners”.





Civil society representative?


Doreen Lawrence

is the mother of Stephen Lawrence, a Black teenager murdered in London, UK, because of his skin colour. None of the suspects were convicted and charges of institutional racism were made against police.



Ojot Miru Ojulu

is an Anywa from Ethiopia who experienced racism in all stages of his life. Verbal abuses, discrimination in realms such as housing, education and violence were common occurrences.



Nusreta Sivac

was targeted as a Muslim intellectual, who were among the first victims during the war in Bosnia. At the Omarska concentration camp, she was repeatedly raped and beaten along with many other women.



Ms. Navanethem Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights







































The event will be moderated by Ms. Gay Mc Dougall, UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues.

Venue: Palais des Nations, E. Building, Permanent Exhibition Gallery opposite Room XX.

Lundi 20 Avril 2009

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