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Racist lessons in Hungary

10 April 2001

The Roma Press Center has reported that on February 21, 2001, a biology teacher in the primary school in Erdőtelek, northeast Hungary, forced 8th grade Roma pupils to write down that “the Gypsies can be characterised by high rates of unemployment and by their special odour,” and taught them that 80% of the prison population is Romani. According to the Roma Press Center’s reports, the local mayor has refused any responsibility for the events, adding that the teacher’s comments about the special odour of the Roma was not equivalent to saying that they smell unpleasant. The Ombudsman on Minority Rights launched an investigation into the incident and the Parliamentary Commissioner on Education Rights is expected to follow suit. According to the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Roma constitute approximately sixty percent of the prison population of Hungary. It is the position of the ERRC that, given present levels of anti-Romani sentiment in Hungary as well as the inadequacy of anti-racist education in the Hungarian school system, a raw presentation of facts absent contextual-ising presentation of the role of discrimination in the criminal justice system is misleading and likely only to heighten anti-Romani prejudice. In a incident which is possibly related, the Roma Press Center and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty have reported that the leader of the local Gypsy self-government in the village of Erdőtelek, Mr Miklós Pusoma, has received written death threats following his complaint to the mayor about the above incident. The death threat reportedly reads, “Smelly Gypsy, you will die.”

(Roma Press Center, Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty)

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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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