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Hungarian Court Orders School to Compensate the Families of Romani Students Educated in Special Classes

16 December 2004

After three years, on June 1, 2004, the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Court ordered the Tiszatarján and Hejőkürt local governments to pay 3,650,000 Hungarian forints (approximately 14,680 Euro) compensation plus interest to nine families – Romani and non-Romani – whose children were unlawfully placed in segregated classes at the Tiszatarján Elementry School and taught a special curriculum between 1994 and 1999, despite not being mentally disabled and without the required expert opinions having been procured in a school under their authority. The families of the students were all of low income. According to the court’s decision, the school had established the special class ten years earlier and since that time the school’s principle had directed students he found incapable of completing the requirements of regular classes there. The judge concluded that the act of segregation will constitute lasting psychological damage to the children, who were denied quality education and were stigmatised and ridiculed as a result of their placements in such classes. Further, the special class teacher, an unqualified student teacher, forced the children to perform degrading actions such as kneeling on corn and also locked them in the room. As a result, according to the decision, the children exhibited fear, low self-confidence and withdrew from their peers. The court found that by segregating the complainants, the school and the local authorities were in breach of the Act on Public Education. The complaint was filed in 2001 by attorney Lilla Farkas as part of a joint strategic litigation project undertaken by the Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities (NEKI) and the ERRC. The defendants appealed the decision of the court.

(ERRC, NEKI)

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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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