The Slovak government has officially apologized for the forced sterilization of thousands of Roma women.
The ruling coalition has condemned decades of human rights violations and apologized to those affected.
According to the Slovak government, forced sterilizations were carried out between 1966 and 1989 to limit the number of children from the Roma minority.
But Andrea Bučková – the government official for the Roma community – said the practice continued even after Slovakia adopted protective measures in 1991.
“The estimated number of women who have undergone sterilization is in the thousands,” Bučková said in a statement. declaration.
It was not until 2004 that Slovakia passed laws to validate the consent of women who were illegally forced into sterilization.
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović hailed the apology as “an important first step”.
“I now look forward to rapid progress on an accessible and effective compensation mechanism,” Mijatović said on Twitter.
Human rights organizations have for years demanded that Slovakia recognize systematic human rights violations and compensate victims.
“What the previous regime was capable of with regard to Roma women is unacceptable,” Bučková said on Wednesday.
“Regulating the population of any minority or group is comparable to the methods of the Nazi regimes and constitutes a flagrant violation of human rights and the personal integrity of every person,” she added.
“[On] the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women … this apology is also a positive expression from the Slovak government that it is really addressing this issue. “
The Roma minority, which represents one fifth of the Slovak population, has long suffered from racism and discrimination in Central and Eastern Europe.
In September, Pope Francis visited communities in Slovakia and acknowledged that the Roma have long been the subject of “harsh prejudice and judgment”.