Romania failed to provide equal access to education for Romani pupils

Bucharest, Budapest, 30 May 2016: The European Roma Rights Centre and Romani CRISS have sent an open letter calling the European Commission’s attention to Romania’s breaches of the Racial Equality Directive. These breaches result from persistent patterns of segregation of Romani children in the Romanian education system.

What is clearly evident today in Romania is that the 2007 ministerial order prohibiting school segregation is quite simply unfit for purpose: it is improperly implemented and is wholly ineffective. The authorities have continuously failed to even discharge their organisational and reporting obligations, let alone actually roll back segregation. And segregation stubbornly persists: recent research in North-Eastern Romania alone found that 81 schools out of 394 for which data was available displayed some form of segregation of Romani children.

It has been well established through the courts that segregation of Romani pupils is based on race, and this amounts to direct discrimination under the directive. No amount of spurious pretexts and excuses by segregators can serve as justification for policies that banish Romani children to racially segregated classrooms or schools, deny them the chance of a quality education, and stifle their opportunities to integrate in the wider society from the very outset of their lives.

The briefing provides a wealth of research evidence and a summary of cases brought against the authorities by Romani CRISS which demonstrate beyond doubt that the Romanian authorities have failed to meet their obligations to provide equal access to education for Romani pupils, and that the practices which sustain school segregation amount to clear breaches of the Racial Equality Directive.  

For more information contact:

Atanas Zahariev
Advocacy Officer
atanas.zahariev@errc.org
Tel: + 36 30 500 20 26

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