MINELRES: ERRC: Czech Minister's letter on ending segregation of Romani children in practical schools welcomed by international organisations

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Feb 5 20:30:42 2010

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

LONDON, BUDAPEST, NEW YORK (2 February 2010): International human rights
organisations today cautiously welcomed Czech Minister of Education,
Youth and Sports Miroslava Kopicova’s letter to elementary school
directors of 19 January 2010, calling on the Ministry to ensure that
only pupils with a “genuine mild mental disability are assigned to the
practical elementary schools.” 

Amnesty International, the European Roma Rights Centre and the Open
Society Justice Initiative emphasised in their communication that this
letter constitutes an important general message to Czech schools to end
their practice of segregating Romani children. However, the three
organisations also underlined that the Minister’s initiative must be
followed up by concrete and clear guidance and implementation to ensure
that Romani children take their place alongside non-Roma in mainstream

The three co-signing organisations pointed out that “the content of this
letter simply reaffirms existing provisions of Czech education law.” As
the Minister’s letter itself confirms, 26% of Romani children are
currently attending schools established for pupils with mild mental
disabilities a number that is vastly disproportionate to their
population size. The Minister noted that it is highly unlikely that the
number of children of Roma origin with such mental disability is
actually this high. 

In their communication, the co-signing organisations called on the
Minister to affirm clearly her support for the desegregation of Czech
schools by commencing efforts to transfer Romani children from practical
to standard primary schools under a concrete timeline, passing
legislation creating a duty to desegregate Czech schools, preventing the
wrongful placement of Romani and other children in practical schools
through an immediate moratorium on their admission to such schools,
providing appropriate support to pupils and families, making publicly
available the concrete guidelines to be provided to school directors and
clarifying publicly how the Ministry intends to monitor and evaluate the
implementation of its broad school integration goals.

The full text of the letter to the Czech Minister of Education, Youth
and Sports Miroslava Kopicova is available here in EN:
http://www.errc.org/db/04/38/m00000438.pdf .

The full text of the letter to the Czech Minister of Education, Youth
and Sports Miroslava Kopicova is available here in CZ: 
http://www.errc.org/db/04/39/m00000439.pdf .

For further information, please contact: 
Robert Kushen, ERRC Managing Director, rob.kushen@errc.org 
Sinan Gokcen, ERRC Media and Communications Officer,
+36 30 500 1324   
© ERRC 2010. All rights reserved


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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