Horizontal Rule

Roma and Law: A Semi-Pessimistic Overview

21 November 2007

András Kádár1

The aim of this article is to highlight some of the issues that arise with respect to the legal perception of Roma in Hungary. By legal perception, I mean the way Roma and their specific problems are reflected in legislative norms. To give a comprehensive analysis of the Hungarian legal system from this point of view would be well beyond the scope of this article. Therefore, through concrete examples I will point out certain instances that are illustrative of the main problems emerging in relation to the topic.

My starting point may be summarised as follows:

  1. The Romani community's specific problems have an undeniably increasing impact on the Hungarian legislative process.
  2. The laws trying to address these problems reflect different perceptions of the Romani community, i.e. there is no unified underlying legislative philosophy behind the legislators' approach to the Romani minority and its characteristic problems.
  3. The three most typical approaches perceive Roma as:
    A. A community with a specific common cultural heritage and traditions;
    B. The most marginalised and impoverished segment of Hungarian society in need of legal protection; and
    C. The racial minority that is most often exposed to racist actions and attacks of different forms spanning from the denial of entry into a pub to actual physical violence.

The presumption I wish to illustrate through concrete examples is that irrespective of which of the three above-listed approaches the legislative responses to specific Romani problems opt for, their solutions are almost never fully adequate, though the underlying perception does have an impact on the efficiency of the legal solution chosen. What I believe to be the reason for this phenomenon will be summarised at the end of the article.

To support my point, I will quote two examples, both realising a movement during legislative amendments from "Perception A" to "Perception B". These two catogories are the reform of the election system for minority selfgovernments and the amendment of the support system of elementary education with the aim of terminating segregation. (Due to lack of space I will not deal with the problems emerging in relation to the implementation of laws based on "Perception C", such as the minuscule numbers of proceedings based on Article 174/B of thePenal Code: Violence against a member of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group).

The reform of the minority selfgovernment election system

Act LXXVII of 1993 on the Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities (hereafter "Minorities Act") is the classic example of those laws that principally perceive the Romani community from the point of view of its cultural heritage and identity. The preamble of the Minorities Act explicitly states that its main objective is to set up a catalogue of rights aimed at the preservation of the cultural heritage and values of minority groups:

[...] "the language, material and spiritual culture, historical traditions of national and ethnic minorities living in the Republic of Hungary as citizens, as well as their other characteristics related to their minority existence form a part of their individual and collective identity. [...] The Hungarian Parliament guarantees all those rights in this law [...] that are not only the human rights of the persons belonging to the minorities and their communities, but also political rights through which the preservation of their national or ethnic identity may be enhanced."

The same thought is also expressed in the legal definition of national and ethnic minorities set forth in Article 1 of the Minorities Act:

"A national or ethnic minority is any ethnic group with a history of at least one century of living in the Republic of Hungary, which represents a numerical minority among the citizens of the state, the members of which are Hungarian citizens, and are distinguished from the rest of the citizens by their own language, culture and traditions, and at the same time demonstrate a sense of belonging together, which is aimed at the preservation of all these, and the expression and protection of the interests of their communities, which have been formed in the course of history."

In accordance with this approach, the primary objective of setting up the system of local and national minority self-governments for all thirteen recognised minorities (including Roma) was therefore to create an institutional framework aimed at the promotion of the collective cultural rights set out in the Act. From early on, this created significant tension with regard to the Romani minority self-governments, as the difficulties of local Romani communities were quite different from those of other minorities (e.g. the Germans or the Slovaks): Instead of operating minority cultural institutions (schools, libraries, theatres), they were primarily interested in trying to find solutions for their extreme social exclusion and poverty. Obviously, the self-governments, which were not designed and equipped to address such issues, often could not meet the expectations of their community. As the president of the Nyíradony Romani minority self-government (Szabolcs- Szatmár-Bereg county) stated in a 2000 interview: "[local Roma] expect us to solve the situation, and keep asking what [changes] they will experience. They put great pressure on us and even ask what we've done with our [yearly operating stipend]."2

In spite of this wide gap between the actual need and the planned role based on the Minorities Act's underlying perception that Roma are simply one of Hungary's ethnic minority groups and that the institutional framework created for the other twelve will be appropriate for them as well, some Romani minority self-governments managed to use their limited authorisations (e.g. their right to veto3 regarding the local government's decisions concerning the education of people belonging to minorities) to address issues substantively concerning Roma in Hungary, such as segregation in education. This in turn, however, led toextreme abuses of the minority self-government system (and especially the election procedure) on the part of the majority population.

Maybe the most well-known of such incidents is the Jászladány case.4 In early 2002, the Jászladány local government made a decision to rent a part of one of the settlement's three school buildings to a foundation that wished to launch a private school in the settlement. From the circumstances of the case, it was clear that this measure was intended to disguise an effort to create a separated school for non-Romani children.

In theory, the Jászladány private school would have been open to all pupils; however, the budgeted tuition fee was clearly beyond the capacity of almost all the Romani families in the settlement. The building implicated in the rental was the most modern of the three buildings in which the Jászladány public school operates. Its gym would have also been given into the exclusive use of the private school, so those public school students who study in the other half of the building would have had to walk about a kilometre to the other gym located in one of the older buildings.

The private school was supposed to pay a symbolic monthly rental fee to the local government, in return for which the local government would have undertaken the payment of the overhead costs (gas, electricity, water, etc.), which meant that the local government would have in fact supported with a significant amount of money the operation of the private school which most of the Romani children could not have attended due to the financial limitations.

In breach of the Minorities Act,5 the Jászladány local government failed to request and acquire the approval of the local Romani minority self-government before delivering its decision about the rental of the building. The reason was obviously that the minority self-government strongly objected to the whole idea, had warned about the discriminatory consequences on several occasions, and finally turned to the Minorities Ombudsman. A long and complex legal battle started between the local government, the mayor and the notary on the one hand, and the Minorities Ombudsman, the Ministry of Education and the regional administrative office on the other, over the establishment of the private school. As a result, the school was prevented from starting its operation in September 2002 but started a new registration procedure for the 2003/2004 school year.

It seemed for a while that the minority selfgovernment of Jászladány succeeded in taking action against school segregation. However, the case took a rather bizarre turn in the fall of 2002 during the minority self-government election: Instead of the members of the old Romani minority self-government that tried to prevent the local government from setting up the private school, new members were elected. Out of the five members only one belonged to the Romani minority. The other four members were admittedly not of Romani origin, one of them being the wife of the mayor, who had been the main advocate for the private school. The new minority self-government willingly gave its approval to the decisions necessary for launching the private school, which was duly registered and started its operation in September 2003.

The case was an extreme example of the socalled "cuckoo" phenomenon, when a person not belonging to a given minority runs for membership in the local minority self-government. Before its amendment in October 2005, such instances were made possible by Act LXIV of 1990 on the Election of Mayors and Local Government Representatives (hereafter "Local Elections Act"). Article 50/B of the Local Elections Act declared that any citizen may be nominated for the minority self-government elections, provided that he/she undertakes to represent a minority acknowledgedby the Minorities Act, while under Article 50/ C(1), all persons entitled to participate in the local government elections were also allowed to take part in the election of the minority selfgovernment as voters (meaning that members of the majority population were also entitled to vote on the minority self-government representatives).

In March 2003, the Parliament adopted Resolution 30/2003 (III. 27) on the Necessity to Review Laws Concerning Minorities, in which it called on the Government to review the Minorities Act and Act C of 1997 on Elections (hereafter "Elections Act"), and submit a bill containing the necessary amendments by December 2003.

It seemed that some registry of minority voters was inevitably necessary in order to put an end to anomalies. However, in terms of Article 7 of the Minorities Act, it is the individual's exclusive and inalienable right to claim and declare affiliation with a national or ethnic group, minority. Furthermore, no one shall be obliged to make a statement on their minority affiliation. This means - argued those who found the idea of a registry impossible to substantiate on a theoretical level - that no person or body may be authorised to qualify voters with regard to their minority affiliation and they may not be requested to make such a declaration either.

In March 2004, the Government submitted to the Parliament Bill T/9126 on the Election of Minority Self-Government Representatives and the Amendment of Certain Acts concerning National and Ethnic Minorities. The original Bill submitted to the Parliament tried to guarantee that only those with genuine ties to a given minority community be eligible to participate in minority self-government elections (either as voters or as candidates) by making participation dependent on the decision of a registration committee consisting of representatives of the given minority. A long and fierce debate evolved concerning this solution, and eventually, in October 2005, the Parliament passed Act CXIV of 2005 on the Election of Minority Self- Government Representatives and the Amendment of Certain Acts concerning National and Ethnic Minorities (hereafter "Minority Elections Act"), which contains a mixed solution: The institution of registration was introduced to the system, but the registration of voters applying to be included in the minority election registry may only be examined from the point of view of formal criteria, and not even this formal examination is done by minority organisations.

Firstly, the Minority Elections Act amended Article 7 of the Minorities Act to create the legal basis for the introduction of a minority election registry. The provision now reads as follows:

"(1) It is the individual's exclusive and inalienable right to claim and declare affiliation with a national or ethnic group, minority. No one shall be obliged to make a statement on their minority affiliation, with the exceptions defined in Paragraph (2).
(2) An Act or a bylaw aimed at its implementation, may make the exercising of certain minority rights dependent on a statement made by the individual."

In terms of the new solution, the decision on registration is made by the Head of the Local Election Office (i.e. the local Notary). The Head of the Local Election Office may not question whether the given person truly belongs to the minority he/she declares himself/herself to be a member of. The examination extends to the formal criteria only. In the case of potential voters, if the applicant is a Hungarian citizen, he/she is eligible to vote at the local council elections, and his/her application contains all the required data, the application may not be rejected on the basis that his/her affiliation with the given minority is doubtful.6

There are some additional conditions with regard to candidates running for membership in minority self-governments. Candidates can only be nominated by associations, the statutes of which contain the representation of the respective national or ethnic minority amongst the association's objectives.7 The candidate's declaration shall include (a) that he/she undertakes to represent the respective minority; (b) whether he/she speaks the language of the respective minority; (c) whether he/she knows the culture and traditions of the respective minority; (d) whether he/she has ever been a representative in another minority's self-government. However, the law does not attach any consequences in the case that a candidate does not speak the language and/or does not know the culture of the minority he/she wishes to represent (I must add that due to the widespread use of Hungarian amongst Roma in Hungary, sanctioning the lack of knowledge of Romani languages may have a severely adverse effect in the case of the Romani ethnic minority group).

Although the reforms obviously concern all thirteen recognised Hungarian minorities, it may not be too far fetched to claim that the numerous and repeated problems related to the election of Romani minority self-governments were the main driving force behind the change. What we see here is a legislative response to a problem that is greatly characteristic of the Romani community.8 In the legislative process, we also see a movement from the perception of Roma as simply one of thirteen culturally, historically and traditionally defined national and ethnic minorities to an approach which also recognises the community's special need for legal protection against abuses aimed at maintaining its social exclusion (through segregated education in the Jászladány case).

The next logical step is, of course, to look at whether the legislative response was adequate to the specific problem. In his 2006 report, the Minorities Ombudsman stated the following in regard to the minority self-government elections taking place in October of that year.

"Comparing the statistics released by the National Election Office and the Central Statistical Office it emerges that in 122 settlements or Budapest districts, at least 30 electors requested inclusion in the minority electoral register, whereas in the 2001 census three or fewer persons declared affinity to the given nationality. Among these in 50 settlements nobody declared themselves a member of the minority community and nobody reported a linguistic or cultural tie to the minority community.

This does not mean that in every one of these settlements an abuse took place, however the figures make one stop and think even if we take into account that the nationality statistics of the census are not accurate, and it is estimated that just a third of members of minority communities declared their identity.

It can therefore be established that due to the failings of the current regulations it was possible in numerous settlements to compile a register of at least 30 persons - the minimum number for an election to be called - where in fact there was no real community legitimacy."9

Thus, it seems that not even through the amendment could legislators close the legal loopholes making way to abuses of the minority self-government election system. According to the Minorities Ombudsman, this is mainly because the amended legislation is still not satisfactory. Although I share the view that the regulation could be improved, I have doubts whether that in itself could put an end to Jászladány-type anomalies, primarily because the solution proposed (the inclusion of minority organisations into the procedure) raises the same problem of defining who is a member of a given minority and/or which organisations may be regarded as truly representing a particular minority.

The reform of the quota system in elementary education with the aim of promoting integration

The direction of the change, as regards the underlying perception, is similar in the case of the support system of elementary education.

In order to understand the direction of the change, the situation before the amendment needs to be described. In the Hungarian system, five forms of minority school education exist: (i) education in the mother tongue; (ii) bilingual minority education; (iii) language teaching minority education; (iv) supplementary minority education; and (v) Romani minority education.10

Before the amendment in 2002,11 Romani minority education (that may be launched in a school if the parents of at least eight students belonging to the Romani minority request so12) was envisaged by the legislator to be two-sided: It contained Romani cultural education but also a "catch up" element for disadvantaged students.

Schools running Romani minority education programmes received a normative support per year for each child (the exact amount being defined in the act on the annual state budget). This amount was transferred to the local government maintaining the school and had to be - at least in theory - spent on providing the personal and material conditions for this special form of education, but this was not monitored in any way.

It soon became obvious and widely acknowledged amongst experts that legal loopholes and the lack of adequate control made Romani minority education programmes a primary target of abuses. In 2000, the Minorities Ombudsman conducted a comprehensive survey into the issue.13 The main conclusions were the following: (i) in most cases only the catch-up element is realised and the obligation to provide pupils with knowledge of Romani culture is completely neglected; (ii) in some cases, parallel to the organisation of Romani minority education, other subjects (such as foreign languages and computer science) disappear from the curriculum of Romani pupils; (iii) the proportion of not properly qualified teachers is higher in this form of education than in ordinary primary school education; (iv) in several cases, it is not the parents who initiate the organisation of such education: They are sometimes not even asked for their approval but in most cases they are not informed appropriately about what this form of education comprises.14

In defining the original contents of Romani minority education, two approaches were used simultaneously: One relying on the perception of Roma as a cultural-traditional community (represented by the cultural element of the educational programme) and another implying the perception of the group as a marginalised segment of society in need of catch-up programmes (represented by the remedial element). During the practical realisation of such "educational programmes", it became clear, however, that the combination of these two perceptions is not operational, and in fact Romani minority education is a hotbed of abuses.

This realisation has led to the reconsideration and reform of the system. The two elements were separated. As a first step, Decree 58/2002 of the Ministry of Education on the Amendmentof MKM Decree 32/1997 redefined the notion of Romani minority education and eliminated all the "catch up" elements from its definition with only cultural education remaining. This was the result of the recognition that it is both degrading and counterproductive to mix up the teaching of a rich minority culture with educational efforts to decrease social disadvantages (even if the effort is real and not just a pretext for segregation). The new concept however recognises that due to the special situation of the Romani minority and also the lack of standardisation of the Romani languages, as well as the lack of human and material resources (e.g. textbooks for different subjects in Romani or Beash), the separate category of Romani minority education needs to be maintained and cannot at this point simply be merged into the other forms of minority education.15

At the same time, in order to address the widespread social disadvantage of Roma and promote their integration, new educational forms were created with a normative support system to promote their widespread application. Decree 57/2002 of the Ministry of Education inserted Article 39/D into Decree 11/1994 of the Ministry of Education on the Operation of Educational Institutions (hereinafter "MKM Decree 11/1994"). Paragraph 1 of this new Article claims that with the aim to counterbalance the student's social or developmental disadvantages, educational institutions may organise a "skills development training", in the framework of which the student is assisted in developing his/her talents and catching up with the others. In terms of Paragraph 5, the student shall be regarded as "multiply disadvantaged" (and therefore may participate in the special training) with the parent's written approval, if: (i) his/her parents' highest level of education is elementary and (ii) he/she is entitled to regular child protection benefit or he/she has been taken into special protection by the notary due to his/her family circumstances.16 The institutions providing such training receive an additional per capita budgetary support from the central state budget for each child participating in the training. The amount of the support is defined in the annual state budget and is 20,500 HUF (82 EUR) per child in 2007.

In order to make schools interested in integration instead of segregation, Decree 57/2002 introduced yet another new educational form, with the insertion of Article 39/E into MKM Decree 11/1994, which sets forth the rules of the so-called "integration training". In accordance with Paragraph 1, such training may be organised for those students who are entitled to participate in the skills development training, with the difference that in the framework of integration training they attend the same class (or group) as "ordinary" students. The central budgetary support available for this form of education is three times as high: 61,500 HUF (246 EUR) for each child participating in such a training programme.

The integration and skills development preparation of disadvantaged children shall be conducted in accordance with the "Pedagogical system of the integration and skills development training of disadvantaged children", issued in a communiqué by the Education Minister.

The efficiency of the quota system is envisaged to be enhanced by the National Network for Integration in Education, which started its operation in early 2003 with the aim of providing professional assistance and consultancy to those schools which run integration training programmes. From August 2005 onward, only those schools may run skills development and integration training programmes (and thus apply for the additional budgetary support) which cooperate with the Network based on a contract. It can be seen that the starting point of the above outlined reform was the recognition that the education of minority culture (reflecting the perception of Roma as an "ordinary" minority defined by its cultural traditions) shall be separated from remedial education reflecting the perception based on the difficult social situation of the community. The reform, however, also meant a change in the approach concerning thislater element and reflected the realisation that integration measures are more efficient if they are based on social status instead of ethnicity. Due to the high degree of social marginalisation of Roma in Hungary, measures aimed at the integration of socially disadvantaged pupils and students strongly promote the integration of Romani students without raising the difficulties stemming from problems of definition and identification, and without intensifying potential ethnic tensions.

As in the case of minority self-government elections, there was a legislative response to the specific needs of the Romani community, and after three years (the new educational forms could be applied in the 2003/2004 academic year for the first time) it became possible to draw some conclusions concerning the results of the reform. In 2006, the Minorities Ombudsman carried out an investigation into the issue. The results are summarised in the Ombudsman's annual report. The relevant part of the report starts with the recognition of the "dual perception" problem:

"An unavoidable question before we consider measures designed to promote integration is whether we should regard the situation of the Roma population as merely a social problem or also as a minorities problem. The difficulty arises from the fact that the Roma population is both a minority with its own culture and language, and - largely - a multiply disadvantaged group. The [Minorities] Act provides for the preservation of the cultural and linguistic identity of the Roma, and the creation of cultural autonomy for the Roma minority. Providing for minority rights, however, does not solve the social problems of the Roma or problems connected to the discrimination they suffer due to the prejudices of majority society."17

The main concerns of the Ombudsman's investigation that are relevant from the point of view of our topic are summarised as follows.

"[S]ocially-based definition [of the beneficiaries of skills development and integration training], due to the low education levels and poverty of the majority of the Roma population, is also suited to reach the Roma children concerned. Nevertheless consistently thinking through the principle of mainstreaming, several questions arise.

The programme does not take into account the phenomenon that the number of Roma children - independently of the education on offer - is in itself a factor influencing the decisions of parents, maintainers and schools. Naturally education policy cannot directly influence the school selection habits of parents. The rules applying to maintainers, however indirectly can significantly form parents' attitudes. [...]

A large number of disadvantaged children are also of Roma origin, and we know that prejudice also plays a part in their segregation. [...]

The question also arises of how the measures can take account of Roma children who are taught in a segregated manner, but who do not classify as multiply disadvantaged. According to the response of the Education and Culture Ministry, 75-80% of Roma families are also disadvantaged, i.e. the number of those left out of the 'system' is relatively small, so the ministry decided that the anti-discrimination warning system is suitable to treat the discrimination they face. The development of this, however, is still at an early stage. [...]

We agree with the fact that the target group of the programme has been defined by social indicators. At the same time we regard the consistent use of the mainstreaming principle as vital, i.e. the analysis of what effect the programme has on children of Roma background."18

The Ombudsman"s concerns echo warnings by experts who claim that exploiting the lack of awareness on the side of the parents (whose lowlevel of education is one of the preconditions of the child's participation in integration training) and disseminating information only to some of them, certain schools and school-maintainers have started a practice of only involving socially disadvantaged non-Romani pupils in skills development and integration training programmes, thus managing to make use of the additional central support and at the same time satisfying the demand of majority parents to have a separation of Roma and non-Romani children.19

So similar to what we saw with regard to the reform of the minority self-government election system, we have to conclude that although the legislative response to specific Romani problems has brought positive changes, it was not fully successful in achieving the goal set by the legislator.

Conclusion

In both of the above cases, the legislative amendment was preceded by a change in the underlying perception of the Romani community. In both instances, there was a move from looking at Roma as one of the country's numerous ethnic minorities differentiated by their common cultural identity towards an approach taking into consideration the social exclusion they suffer and its consequences as regards the operation of their institutions. In both cases we have seen that the legislation reflecting the latter perception meant a step forward and yielded some results, but failed to bring about the full solution of the problem triggering the amendment.

Some experts draw the conclusion from this that further amendments are necessary. Not denying the truth of these opinions, I have to warn that there is a point beyond which legislative measures in themselves cannot efficiently address the problems faced by Roma in Hungary.

Law is only one - and not even the most important and effective - tool in changing social behavioural patterns. In the context of the "Roma issue", law can be useful when certain behaviours need to be sanctioned, and it can be used for creating the framework for programmes and actions aimed at improving the situation. However, considering the extent of discrimination suffered by Roma in Hungary, if not accompanied by complex programmes aimed at the promotion of integration and positive changes in the majority population's perceptions, an exclusively legalistic approach will definitely remain incapable of solving the situation.

The case is somewhat similar to the problem of equal treatment and equal opportunities. Law is capable of enforcing the principle of equal treatment by sanctioning those who commit discriminative acts, but treating everyone equally will not lead to the elimination of the fundamental inequality of the opportunities different members of society have from the very beginning of their social careers. To expect legislation to bring about equal opportunities is unrealistic. In this regard, the role of law can only be the setting of a framework for positive measures, designed and implemented by educational, social, health care, etc., experts - people other than legal professionals.

As a human rights lawyer, I cannot and do not claim that we should ab ovo give up the search for apt legal solutions. I firmly believe that the process of refining laws to the greatest possible extent ought to be kept up, and while doing so we must not forget about the importance of starting off from those underlying approaches and perceptions that are the most appropriate to the problem addressed. However, we must also remember the limitations of the legal approach and seek a close cooperation with representatives of other disciplines if we wish to be successful in the quest of finding efficient solutions for the deeply rooted problems of the Romani community of Hungary.

Endnotes:

  1. András Kádár is an attorney at law. He is the co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), a human rights and advocacy NGO focusing on non-discrimination, access to justice, the protection of asylum seekers and the human rights performance of law enforcement agencies. Besides taking individual cases within the HHC’s Human Rights Legal Counselling Office, Mr Kádár has been actively involved in HHC’s training programmes in the field of anti-discrimination law and the organisation’s advocacy efforts related to the passing and subsequent amending of Hungary’s anti-discrimination code. Mr Kádár was Hungary’s representative on the Management Board of the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia and acted until recently as the Hungarian member of the European Network of Independent Experts in the field of non-discrimination.
  2. Quoted in: Minority Protection in Hungary. In Open Society Institute. 2001. Monitoring the EU Accession Process: Minority Protection. Budapest, p. 251. Available online at: http://www.eumap.org/reports/2002/minority/international/sections/hungary/2002_m_hungary.pdf.
  3. Under Article 29(2) of the Minorities Act, the appointment of the heads of minority institutions as well as the local government’s decisions concerning the education of people belonging to minority groups require the approval of the local minority self-government representing the affected minority group.
  4. The case is described in detail by the Minorities Ombudsman’s 2002 annual report. See: Beszámoló a nemzeti és etnikai kisebbségi jogok országgyűlési biztosának tevékenységérõl, 2002. január 1-2002. december 31 (Report on the activity of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities, 1 January 2002-31 December 2002). Available online at: http://www.obh.hu/nekh/en/reports/reports.htm.
  5. See Footnote 2.
  6. Article 115/F of Act C of the Elections Act.
  7. Article 7 of the Minority Elections Act.
  8. The Reasons attached to the amending act make specific reference to the anomalies: “The inevitable need to reform the regulation is unfortunately confirmed by the negative experiences. By now, it has become clear that the deficiencies of the legal framework give rise to severe misuses of the system in the course of the formation of minority self-governments. Abusing the institutionalized self-governance of minorities, such illegitimate tendencies have emerged, which need to be addressed through legal measures. The essence of these phenomena is that persons who do not have anything to do with a particular minority have participated in minority elections and acquired positions in the self-governments of the given minority.”
  9. See: http://www.obh.hu/nekh/en/reports/reports.htm.
  10. See Annex 2 Point 1 of Ministry of Education Decree 32/1997 on Guidelines for the Kindergarten Education of National and Ethnic Minorities and Guidelines of School Education of National and Ethnic Minorities (hereafter “MKM Decree 32/1997”).
  11. By Decree 58/2002 of the Ministry of Education amending MKM Decree 32/1997.
  12. Article 43(4) of the Minorities Act and Annex 3 of Act LXXIX on Public Education (hereafter “Public Education Act”).
  13. For further information see: Beszámoló a nemzeti és etnikai kisebbségi jogok országgyűlési biztosának tevékenységéről, 2000. január 1-2000. december 31 (Report on the activity of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities, 1 January 2000-31 December 2000), pp. 47-52. Available online at: http://www.obh.hu/nekh/en/reports/reports.htm.
  14. Ibid, p 49.
  15. For example, education in the mother tongue, bilingual minority education and language teaching minority education – see Footnote 10.
  16. These are special benefits and forms of protection for socially disadvantaged children.
  17. For further information see: Beszámoló a nemzeti és etnikai kisebbségi jogok országgyűlési biztosának tevékenységéről, 2006. január 1-2006. december 31 (Report on the activity of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities, 1 January 2006-31 December 2006). Available online at: http://www.obh.hu/nekh/en/reports/reports.htm.
  18. Ibid.
  19. Interview with dr. Lilla Farkas, an attorney with the Chance for Children Foundation specialising in desegregation lawsuits.

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