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Danish Authorities Find Romani Classes Illegal

16 December 2004

On September 13, Copenhagen’s State County Board of Control issued a decision to end so-called “Romani classes” in the municipality of Helsingør, according to the decision provided the ERRC by Johannes Busk Laursen and Henrik von Bűlow, following a complaint submitted in December 2002 by the Danish Romani organisation Romano, Mr Laursen and Mr von Bűlow. Mr Laursen and Mr von Bűlow are independent activists involved in Romani issues. In the decision, the Copenhagen’s State County Board of Control gave the municipality until September 27 to terminate the illegal classes. The decision was made on the basis that the reason for the classes is not in line with the provisions of the Primary Education Act related to special education: Namely, special educational classes in Denmark are to be formed to promote the educational development of pupils with special learning needs, determined on the basis of professional pedagogical and psychological evaluations, whereas the Romani classes were initiated for pupils who had been absent from school for prolonged periods, without any formal testing having been undertaken. Copenhagen’s State County Board of Control however stated that there was insufficient evidence to prove racialdiscrimination as the municipality had insisted the only reason for the classes was the prolonged absence of the children from school and that any students, regardless of ethnicity, could attend the classes.

According to the decision, the Borupsgård elementary school, which currently houses the Romani classes, was to report at the city council meeting on September 27 as to the actions they intend to take with regard to closing the Romani classes. On September 14 Mr Per Tćrsbøl, the mayor of Helsingør, announced during a broadcast of the Danish radio station DR4 that the municipality was considering keeping open one of the racially segregatory classes until the pupils reach the 9th grade. According to the website of the Helsingør Municipality, at a meeting on October 10, 2004, the city council decided to apply to the Ministry of Education to set aside the decision of the Board. (ERRC)

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Call for Grant Proposals: Community Legal Work Projects

20 January 2017

The ERRC’s legal work – which the organisation describes as “strategic litigation” – has been called “elite” or “elitist”. Budapest-best legal staff members work with us, Roma, as well as with local lawyers and NGOs, to design cases to have a big impact at national or European levels, and ultimately to ensure greater respect for our rights. But is this really working for us? Are we yet convinced – as the ERRC is – that court cases, and relying on legal rights more generally, are going to make our situation any better?

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Call for Proposals: Website Design and Hosting

18 January 2017

The European Roma Rights Centre (“the ERRC”) needs a clear, bold website to get strong messages across to the allies and foes of Roma rights: We are equal. The rights violations we suffer are real and unacceptable. We are taking our cases to court and winning. And the ERRC’s activist lawyers, advocates, researchers, human rights monitors, and entire team are making it possible.

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Romani Woman Harassed by Racist Hospital Staff during Childbirth Wins Case

18 January 2017

Budapest, 18 January 2017: A Romani woman harassed by staff while giving birth at a Hungarian hospital has won a decision in her favour from the Hungarian Equality Body. The woman who gave birth to her baby daughter in February 2016 was alone in the hospital and intimidated by staff who subjected her to verbal harassment and racial slurs, with one doctor telling her “you Gypsies give birth only for the money!”

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