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Europe rights court condemns Hungary segregation of Roma students

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled [judgment] Tuesday that Hungary [BBC backgrounder] violated the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF] by discriminating against Roma [JURIST news archive] children and wrongly placing them in remedial schools. Istvan Horvath and Andras Kiss, two Roma men from the town of Nyiregyhaza, filed their claim 2006, stating that they were discriminated against and isolated from mainstream education, hindering their prospects of higher education and employment. The court agreed with these allegations, stating that many Roma children are misdiagnosed with mental disabilities due to the outdated and culturally-biased nature of testing. "The schooling arrangements for Roma applicants with allegedly mild mental disability or learning disability were not attended by adequate safeguards that would ensure that...the State took into account their special needs as members of a disadvantaged class." The court ordered Hungary to pay the pair's legal costs, but the applicants did not seek damages on grounds of discrimination.

Roma continue to be targets of discrimination in Europe. In September Amnesty International (AI) [official website] urged Italy to change its discriminatory policies [JURIST report] against the country's Roma. In August AI urged [JURIST report] the government of Hungary to protect the nation's Roma communities from anti-Roma attacks. Also in August the UN urged the international community to end discrimination against Roma [JURIST report]. In May the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] implored the government of Moldova to adopt a comprehensive anti-discrimination law [JURIST report] that protects, amongst other groups, the Roma people. In April Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called on the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to stop discriminating against Roma [JURIST report].

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