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Amnesty International: Roma people still discriminated against in Czech education

London, 16.5.2011 14:15, (ROMEA)

The Czech Government has not yet succeeded in ending the segregation of Roma children in education and Roma people continue to experience discrimination not just in access to schools, but also in access to housing. Those are the findings of Amnesty International (AI) in the portion of its annual human rights report dedicated to the Czech Republic. Amendments to the law on immigrants have also prompted concern, according to the report.

Roma people face open animosity in public and there are several trials ongoing of persons charged with committing violent attacks against Roma people, AI reports. The organization expressed appreciation for the fact that persons convicted of such attacks have received strict sentences.

According to the AI report, the segregation of Roma children into schools for pupils with "light mental disability" persists, as does their segregation into all-Roma classes or schools. "Three years after the European Court for Human Rights judgment which confirmed that the separate, substandard education of Roma people should be prohibited, the government has still not succeeded in bringing an end to discrimination in the country's education system," the organization reports. AI has addressed similar criticisms to the Czech Republic before in recent years.

In March 2010 the government adopted its National Action Plan for Inclusive Education (integrated education of all children together irrespective of condition or disability). The plan, however, does not address discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin, nor does it establish a specific time frame for eliminating segregation in the Czech schools. Nevertheless, the implementation of this action plan was set aside by the new government. The Education Ministry also refused to submit two decrees for signature which would have removed several barriers to access to education faced by Roma children in particular, AI reports. The group reiterates the recommendations of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers, which called on the Czech Government in December 2010 to immediately fulfill the action plan and to resolve the situation of children placed in the wrong schools.

As far as housing is concerned, AI reports on last September's finding by the Czech Ombudsman that the municipal authority in Vítkovice significantly violated regulations in the case of Roma people attempting to register their permanent residency there. In October 2010, the case of Roma people who were displaced from the center of Vsetín in 2006 returned to the Regional Court.

Amnesty International reports that an amendment to the law on immigrants was adopted in December 2010 that prompted great concern. The amendment extended the maximum internment time for refugees can be from six to 18 months.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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