MINELRES: ERRC: One year after landmark European Court ruling, racial segregation continues in Czech schools

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Tue Nov 18 08:44:44 2008

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

One year after landmark European Court ruling, racial segregation
continues in Czech schools

Prague, 13 November 2008 – Despite a landmark court ruling, Roma
children in the Czech Republic continue to be sent to sub-standard
schools in disproportionate numbers, according to a report issued today
by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC).

Exactly one year after the European Court of Human Rights found that the
Czech school system discriminates against Roma students, Czech
government officials and Roma rights advocates agreed that little on has
changed for the students: most are condemned to second-class education
in dead-end primary schools with virtually no opportunity for secondary
or tertiary education.

“The Czech government has acknowledged the gravity of the problem and
pledged to reform. Yet progress remains slow. As the Czech Republic
prepares for the presidency of the European Union, there is a unique
opportunity to put Roma rights front and center on the European agenda,”
said James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice

Roma representatives, Roma rights advocates, and Czech officials marked
the one-year anniversary of the European Court’s decision at a
conference in Prague, “Education Without Barriers: Roma Children in the
Czech Republic.” They gathered to review the Czech government’s
progress—or lack thereof—toward creating a more equitable education

Robert A. Kushen, managing director of ERRC, stated, “If we agree here
to abolish the so-called “practical primary schools” which provide
substandard education to Roma children, I think we can call today a
great success.”

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), a leading Roma advocacy
organization, released a new report, “Persistent Segregation of Roma in
the Czech Education System” (available here: www.errc.org), which
clearly demonstrates that Roma children continue to be shunted into
primary schools that use a curriculum intended for children with mental

“There is latent racism in the Czech Republic, but this cannot be a
reason for me not to make use of my time in office to make change,” said
the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport, Ondoej Liska. “We are
working towards desegregation and ending discrimination in schools”.

The Conference was organized by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC),
Roma Education Fund, Open Society Fund and the “Together for Schools”
coalition of NGOs in the Czech Republic.

More information on the conference is available at


Sinan Gokcen, European Roma Rights Centre, sinan@errc.org (+36 1 413

David Berry, Open Society Justice Initiative,
dberry@justiceinitiative.org, (+1 212 548 0385)

Gwendolyn Albert, Peacework Development Fund, gwen@peacework.org (+420
774 895 444) (In Czech and English)

The Open Society Justice Initiative, an operational program of the Open
Society Institute (OSI), pursues law reform activities grounded in the
protection of human rights, and contributes to the development of legal
capacity for open societies worldwide. The Justice Initiative combines
litigation, legal advocacy, technical assistance, and the dissemination
of knowledge to secure advances in five priority areas: national
criminal justice, international justice, freedom of information and
expression, equality and citizenship, and anticorruption. Its offices
are in Abuja, Budapest, and New York.


The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is an international public
interest law organisation engaging in a range of activities aimed at
combating anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma. The
approach of the ERRC involves, in particular, strategic litigation,
international advocacy, research and policy development, and training of
Romani activists. The ERRC is a cooperating member of the International
Helsinki Federation for Human Rights and has consultative status with
the Council of Europe, as well as with the Economic and Social Council
of the United Nations.


The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the human rights situation of Roma and
provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more
information about the European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the
web at http://www.errc.org 

To support the ERRC, please visit this link:

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200

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