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A Lesson in Discrimination: Segregation of Romani Children in Primary Education

3 March 2017

A Lesson in Discrimination: Segregation of Romani Children in Primary Education

Romani children are systemically denied their rights to education and non-discrimination in primary education in Slovakia. They are overwhelmingly segregated in Roma-only mainstream schools and classes, or special schools and classes for children with “mild mental disabilities”. As a result, they are condemned to low-quality, segregated education.

In April 2015, following continued criticism of the Slovak authorities’ inaction from national and international bodies, the European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against Slovakia for breaching the prohibition of discrimination in education set out in the EU Race Equality Directive. This report examines the Slovak government’s responses to the European Commission’s concerns, investigating Romani children’s access to primary education in Slovakia over a year and a half after the launch of the infringement proceedings.

This report reviews recent legislative changes intended to tackle the erroneous placement of Romani children in special schools and classes for children with “mild mental disabilities” and examines broader structural factors driving segregation and discrimination across the education system. Its findings are based primarily on case-studies of schools and educational options for children in four locations in the regions of Prešov and Košice in eastern Slovakia, which have some of the largest Romani populations in the country: Šarišské Michaľany/Ostrovany, Moldava nad Bodvou, Rokycany and Krompachy. The four qualitative case studies are indicative of widespread and systemic segregation and discrimination and, while the
responsibilities of individual schools and local authorities are highlighted, the report focuses on structural issues that fuel and perpetuate these human rights violations, and that the government of Slovakia are failing to address.

The full report is available in English and Slovak

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ERRC submission to UN HRC on Hungary (February 2018)

14 February 2018

Written Comments of the European Roma Rights Centre concerning Hungary to the UN Human Rights Committee for consideration at its 122nd session (12 Narch - 6 April 2018).

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The Fragility of Professional Competence: A Preliminary Account of Child Protection Practice with Romani and Traveller Children in England

24 January 2018

Romani and Traveller children in England are much more likely to be taken into state care than the majority population, and the numbers are rising. Between 2009 and 2016 the number of Irish Travellers in care has risen by 400% and the number of Romani children has risen 933%. The increases are not consistent with national trends, and when compared to population data, suggest that Romani and Traveller children living in the UK could be 3 times more likely be taken into public care than any other child. 

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Families Divided: Romani and Egyptian Children in Albanian Institutions

21 November 2017

There’s a high percentage of Romani and Egyptian children in children’s homes in Albania – a disproportionate number. These children are often put into institutions because of poverty, and then find it impossible ever to return to their families. Because of centuries of discrimination Roma and Egyptians in Albania are less likely to live in adequate housing, less likely to be employed and more likely to feel the effects of extreme poverty.

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