[JURIST] The Czech Republic continues to discriminate against Roma [JURIST news archive] school children despite a court order, according to a complaint [text, PDF] filed Monday with the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe [official website] by the Open Society Justice Initiative, the European Roma Rights Centre and the Greek Helsinki Monitor [advocacy websites]. The groups allege that the Czech government has failed to implement a November 2007 European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] decision [text; JURIST report], which determined that the Czech Republic indirectly discriminated against Roma children. The ECHR found that the Czech Republic violated article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF], read in conjunction with article 2 of protocol 1, by segregating the children in schools for children with mental disabilities. The complaint alleges that the situation of Roma children has remained unchanged since the 2007 judgment. In some cities, Roma children are still 27 times more likely to be sent to schools for the mentally disabled than non-Roma children, and, nationally, Roma children are 12 times more likely than their non-Roma counterparts to attend schools where they receive an inferior education. OJSI executive director James Goldston said [press release]:
Each year since the Grand Chamber issued its judgment, Romani children in the Czech Republic have continued to be shunted into sub-standard schools and classes for the mentally disabled. The Committee of Ministers should demand an immediate halt to segregation of Romani children and adoption within six months of the legal and budgetary measures essential to secure equal opportunity.
The complaint also alleges that governments of Greece and Croatia have also continued to discriminate against Roma children. The Committee of Ministers will meet on November 30 to consider the Czech Republic’s advancement in desegregating its schools. The Committee will also consider the cases involving illegal segregation in Greece and Croatia.
Other countries have also faced criticism for their treatment of Roma migrants. Last month, the European Commission [official website] announced that it was temporarily postponing the human rights complaint [JURIST report] filed against France over the country’s failure to respect the EU’s Free Movement Directive of 2004 [Directive 2004/38/EC materials] in its expulsion of Roma. In September, the EC asked the French government to enact legislation guaranteeing that procedural safeguards would be put in place in order to protect EU citizens against “arbitrary, discriminatory or disproportionate decisions.” Also in September, Amnesty International [advocacy website] urged EU members to stop forcibly deporting Roma migrants to Kosovo [JURIST report]. In August, the UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination [official website] expressed concern with the discrimination faced by Roma migrants [JURIST report] in numerous European countries.