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Romani Children Blocked from Enrolling in School in Spain and Serbia and Montenegro

7 May 2002

Journalists from TeleMadrid, a private local television station in Spain, have recently conducted tests of kindergartens using hidden video cameras (a lawful practice in Spain), in order to document discriminatory practices in admissions procedures. One journalist was given extensive advice by a member of the state organization of kindergartens as to how to open a kindergarten such that no Romani children would come to it. The interviewed official sternly admonishes the journalist, who had posed as a person wishing to open a kindergarten, not to admit any “Gypsy children” at all, “or else soon you will be swamped with Gypsies.” In the video recording, the same administrator advises the journalist not to explicitly discriminate, “since this would be illegal”, but rather to place Romani children indefinitely on a waiting list until the parents’ interest in enrolling their children waned. The videotape was broadcast on a number of Spanish television stations and has reportedly provoked nationwide debate.

In other news pertaining to the exclusion of Romani children from schooling, the enrolment of approximately 140 Romani children at the “Božidar Vuković – Podgoričanin” primary school in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica is being hindered by numerous obstacles, the Podgorica weekly political magazine Monitor reported on November 9, 2001. The group includes the children of local Roma, as well as the children of Romani refugees from Kosovo. According to Monitor, the Association of Displaced Roma and Egyptians in Montenegro (Udruženje raseljenih Roma i Egipćana u Crnoj Gori) claims that their plan for the education of these children was submitted for review and approval to the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Montenegro on September 12, 2001, but the association did not receive any response. The Association also expressed concern that the process of testing children by the school’s pedagogues has been going on since September, which they believed to be a deliberate delay. Previously, the Podgorica-based Roma Information Agency (RIA) reported that, on October 9, 2001, the Associati on of Roma of Montenegro (Udruženje Roma Crne Gore) and the Association of Displaced Roma and Egyptians in Montenegro sent separate letters to the Ministry of Education and Science, requesting that the above-mentioned primary school in Podgorica introduce a third shift of classes to make room for more students, and that the school introduce classes in Albanian and Romani languages. A very small number of Romani children in Montenegro attend school. Non-governmental sources estimate that around 80 percent of Montenegrin Roma do not complete even primary education. As Roma in Montenegro have the same rights and obligations as other “national minorities”, their right to education, including instruction in their mother tongue, is guaranteed by the Montenegrin Constitution. However, this right is not exercised in any school in Montenegro. Furthermore, the state does not enforce the rule of compulsory primary education when it comes to the Romani community.

(Monitor, RIA, TeleMadrid)

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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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