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In Extraordinary Move, European Court of Human Rights Agrees to Hear Appeal in Important School Discrimination Case against Croatia

7 January 2009

Budapest: The European Court of Human Rights has advised that it has agreed to hear an appeal in an important case of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity involving Romani children forced into segregated classes in Croatia. The case was originally submitted in December 2004 by the European Roma Rights Centre and the Croatian Helsinki Committee on behalf of fourteen Croatian children of Roma origin. All of the applicants at that time attended separate Roma-only classes in Croatian primary schools. Their placement in segregated classes stemmed from a blatant practice of discrimination based on race/ethnicity, the pervasive anti-Romani sentiment of the majority community, and the unwillingness of the Croatian authorities to remedy these illegal acts.

In addition, the children were subjected to a curriculum in the Roma-only classes that was significantly reduced in scope and volume as compared to the officially prescribed teaching plan, which resulted in lower quality education. Data provided by Croatian education officials confirmed this practice of segregation. In some communities, over 80% of the Romani children were confined to segregated classes.

Lawyers for the children praised the Court's action. Lovorka Kušan, representing the applicants, said: "With Croatia aspiring to join the European Union, it is important that the European Court expands its protection of Romani children from illegal discrimination. There should be no tolerance for ghetto classrooms, in Croatia or anywhere else in Europe." Andi Dobrushi, counsel for the ERRC, stated that "the Court has another opportunity to reinforce and further clarify its stance regarding equality and integration in education."

The Court has scheduled oral argument in the case for 1 April 2009.

The request for Grand Chamber referral is available at:  View it (Acrobat pdf format)!

For further information, contact Andi Dobrushi, ERRC Staff Attorney, andi.dobrushi@errc.org, +36.1.413.2224


 

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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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