On December 8, Chargé d’affaires Jennifer Bachus presented the U.S. Embassy’s annual Alice G. Masaryk Human Rights Award to prominent human rights activists Gwendolyn Albert, Elena Gorolová, and Deputy Ombudsperson Monika Šimůnková for their tireless efforts to secure compensation for victims of forced sterilization between the 1960s and 2012. The Czech Republic passed compensation legislation this year, marking the
culmination of a 10-year effort of many people and securing one of the most important human rights victories of 2021.
Chargé Bachus commended the recipients’ longstanding advocacy to provide access to justice and compensation to the victims of forcible sterilization. “You have used your skills and knowledge to aid some of society’s most vulnerable members and that is truly a noble cause,” said Bachus.
The Embassy established the annual Alice Garrigue Masaryk Award in 2004 to recognize people and institutions in the Czech Republic for significant accomplishments in the field of human rights. The award’s namesake, Alice Garrigue Masaryk, was a prominent Czech-American humanitarian and founder of the Czechoslovak Red Cross. The award pays tribute to her devotion to combating social injustice and her personal courage as an advocate for human rights. The Embassy presents the award annually on or near International Human Rights Day on December 10.
Mrs. Gorolová, Mrs. Albert and Mrs. Šimůnková join the ranks of previous award winners, which include Veronika Ježková, Šimon Pánek, Anna Šabatová, David Ondráčka, Czeslaw Walek, Čeněk Růžička, Marie Gottfriedová, Klára Kalibová, Oldřich Kužílek, ROMEA organization, Igor Blaževič, Lucie Sládková, Kumar Sri Vishwanathan, Jiří Kopal, and Czech print weekly Respekt.