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Will the EU Put an End to Segregation of Roma?

3 December 2015

Shocking map reveals the penetration of segregated schools. The European Roma Rights Centre is ready to sue segregationists across Europe and today has launched an online campaign to combat school segregation.

“From the very first day of the school year, when all the pupils line up in rows of two-by-two for the first day of school ceremony, the Roma children were put aside into their own group. A Roma child held the hand of another Roma child, without the students mixing. We as children were not able to understand this back then, but our parents did notice the segregation.” - This is just one of the hundreds of stories ERRC and its partners have heard.

Segregated education takes many forms. Roma pupils are often enrolled in Roma-only schools or segregated in Roma-only classes. But in some countries the authorities go beyond this in order to exclude Roma from mainstream education altogether. In Central and Eastern Europe, misdiagnosis of Roma children is a common practice. Upon reaching school age, children are evaluated and most Roma children are diverted towards special education for children with learning disabilities.

Nobody knows how many children’s chances are ruined by segregation in European schools. States, including member states of the European Union, refuse to collect data, and so the segregating practices remain concealed. The European Roma Rights Centre has launched a campaign to reveal what governments try to hide.

While the Racial Equality Directive1  expressly forbids segregation in education, it persists in many member states of the European Union. The European Commission has already initiated infringement proceedings against several member states, who may soon find themselves accused of racial segregation in the Court of Justice of the EU. Infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic in September 2014 have hopefully started a domino effect, with proceedings also initiated against Slovakia in April this year. Hungary looks likely to be next.

School segregation is not only present in the EU member states but in all candidate countries as well.

“School segregation is not merely a Roma issue. It must concern the majority society as well.” - says ERRC Executive Director András Ujlaky - “A child educated in an inclusive school can provide three times more to the economy than the costs of inclusive education. School segregation in not only unjust, it is also unreasonable.”

The ERRC has published a map of known segregating schools in Europe and urges everyone to report cases which have not yet gone public. “We call all NGOs, parents, and students to report cases around Europe. The ERRC will study each case and take the necessary steps to stop segregation of Romani students.” - says Adam Weiss, Legal Director of ERRC.

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All information is welcome on the stopschoolsegregation@errc.org e-mail address.

ERRC is also publishing infographic images to explain how segregation affects Roma and non-Roma people throughout Europe. Press can freely use the infographics. Download link: http://bit.ly/1O0fXfx

Link to the map: http://www.errc.org/article/school-segregation-map/4434

You can embed the map using this code:
<iframe src="http://xkk.hu/map/" width="640" height="480" frameborder="0"></iframe>

For further information contact:
Szelim Simándi
+36703979545
simandi.szelim@xkk.hu

Endnote:

  1. EU legislation prohibiting race discrimination in education and other areas (Directive 2000/43).

 

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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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