Activists ask Brussels to stop bullying of Romani children in the Czech schools
The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) has organized a public hearing at the European Parliament tomorrow, Tuesday, 9 December 2014, during which a video campaign by Romani activists Edita Stejskalová, Jolana Šmarhovyčová, Magdalena Karvayová and Miroslav Klempár entitled "Stop calling us gypsies!" will be launched. The campaign draws attention to the Czech Republic's rejection of the European Commission's charges that Romani children continue to be discriminated against in education in the EU Member State.
VIDEO - short version
The Commission formally contacted the Czech Republic with a request for information regarding the alleged discrimination of Romani children in the Czech education system at the end of September and threatened the country with prosecution over the high number of Romani children in special education there. The Czech Government, however, has not only rejected the charges, but said it believes school affairs are not within the EU's purview.
The organizers of the campaign disagree with the Czech Government's response and are asking the European Commission to continue with proceedings seeking the proper fulfillment of the Racial Equality Directive (2000/43/ES). "The campaign 'Stop calling us gypsies!' will start with a public hearing at the European Parliament during which the voices of Romani children will be heard for the first time since the 2007 judgment in the case of D.H. and Others vs. Czech Republic. This will not be the last time their voices are heard. Our children are asking that the primary schools be made safe for them, they wish that the schools would be friendly environments. Let's help make their wishes come true," said Edita Stejskalová.
"The video campaign not only points out the systemic nature of the discriminatory practice that results in the overrepresentation of Romani children outside of mainstream education, it primarily warns of the serious, threatening behavior our children face in the schools because of their ethnic origin. Bullying has a destructive influence on children's perceptions of their own dignity and it must be stopped," Stejskalová said.
VIDEO - full version
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