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Horváth and Kiss v Hungary

29 January 2013

Forum: European Court of Human Rights
ERRC role: Representative
Status: Implementation

The judgment in Horváth and Kiss v Hungary began with complaints from two young men of Roma origin that they had been wrongly placed in a school for the mentally disabled due to their ethnic origin.

This case is fundamentally about the limited life choices that two Romani children faced following placement in special schools. As a result of being misdiagnosed with mental disabilities, they could not access mainstream education. Instead, they were educated in a segregated remedial school.

In 2011 the applicants Mr Horváth and Mr Kiss, represented by the Chance for Children Foundation (CFCF) and the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), complained to the European Court of Human Rights that their placement in School (“special educational programme” or “special” school) amounted to ethnic discrimination in the enjoyment of their right to education. They alleged that the tests used for their placement had been outdated and culturally biased, putting Roma children at a particular disadvantage.

The submissions to the European Court of Human Rights included extensive arguments that Roma children were assigned to segregated schools based on their racial or ethnic identity rather than intellectual capacities.

The Court ruled in favour of the applicants, finding a violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (right to education) read in conjunction with Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination).

The Court also underlined that there was a long history of wrongful placement of Romani children in special schools in Hungary and that the State must change this practice.

Case Documents:

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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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