Hungarian court rules against segregation

On December 1, 1998, the City Court of Nyíregyháza brought a verdict in the case of the Romani children of Tiszavasvári. About a year ago, fourteen young Roma brought a suit against the local government of Tiszavasvári. The school had separate classes for Romani children, who were not allowed to enter the gym or the cafeteria and had to hold a separate graduation ceremony (see Roma Rights Spring 1998). The court declared that the children's personal rights had been violated and ordered the local government to pay 100,000 HUF (about 500 USD) to each child in damages and court costs.

"I think that the verdict has a precedent value. This is the first verdict in a case of discrimination in the education of Romani children. I am satisfied with the fact that the court stated the existence of discrimination, but I think that the amount of compensation is not in proportion to the eight-years-long violation of the law. I also disagree with the verdict for not condemning the tendency of segregation in the school", said Aladár Horváth, president of the Foundation for Romani Civil Rights which represented the children.

The decision is not legally binding and the local government intends to lodge an appeal.

(Roma Press Center)

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