Second-class education for Czech Republic’s Roma children
(Brussels, 7 December 2012) The Council of Europe has called on the Czech Republic to end the segregation of Romani school children. Meeting last week, the Committee of Ministers urged the Czech Government swiftly to provide information about substantive results on the ground. Five years after the European Court of Human Rights condemned the disproportionate placement of Romani children in schools which teach only a limited curriculum, the situation remains largely unchanged. The Court found this practice, which is still in use, to be discriminatory.
“The Czech authorities’ unwillingness to tackle segregation means poorer education for Romani children and a deeply unequal start in life”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “Unless the government phases out the sub-standard education being provided in practical schools and classes, addresses discrimination, and tackles underlying prejudices, this problem will continue to fester.”
Instead of introducing systemic reforms to tackle discrimination, the Czech Government has adopted three different ‘strategic plans’ in less than three years. Amnesty International believes the latest action plan fails to explain how it will effectively achieve the inclusion of Romani children into mainstream education. It also believes the latest plan fails to address segregation in mainstream Roma-only schools and classes.
“The Committee of Ministers’ decision is an important reminder to the Czech Government to start prioritising Roma children’s equal access to education”, said Beger. “The current policies allow continued discrimination against Roma people and violate the government’s obligations under the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights.”
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