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Analysis: Czech daily reprints eight-year-old dissenting opinions of Strasbourg judgment on racial discrimination in education

22.3.2016 18:20
Štěpán Vidím Drahokoupil (PHOTO: www.osf.cz)
Štěpán Vidím Drahokoupil (PHOTO: www.osf.cz)

The Czech daily Právo has published a report on the dissenting opinions of judges on the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg stating that the Czech Republic lost the D.H. case at that venue in 2007 because the state had attempted to educate Romani people. The fact that the statements are eight years old did not prevent the daily from making them the main story of yesterday's edition.

The article quotes just the dissenting views of the judges who did not support the 2007 judgment. There are no details reported from the judgment itself at all.

The contrast between ignoring the judgment itself and focusing solely on the dissenting opinions of it is quite startling. It is also startling that the daily neglects to mention any of the clear evidence of the discrimination of Romani pupils in the schools that has been discovered since 2007.

It is as if the investigations performed by the Office of the Public Defender of Rights and the Czech School Inspection Authority since 2007 did not exist, as if they did not find that approximately one-third of the children in the former "special schools" (zvláštní školy) are Romani. The most recent report from the Czech School Inspection Authority on this issue is from December 2015.

A list of other decisions and reports on this issue would be quite lengthy. The seriousness of the situation was confirmed in 2014 by the European Commission, which began infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic for violating the Race Equality Directive by permitting the discrimination of Romani pupils.

Croatia, Greece and Hungary are other states that have also lost cases in Strasbourg after the D.H. and Others versus Czech Republic judgment was handed down. While D.H. was the first, groundbreaking judgment on the discrimination of Romani children in education, it certainly was not the last.

The European Commission has not restricted its efforts in combat this discrimination to the Czech Republic only, but has begun the same infringement proceedings against Slovakia and is investigating the situation in Hungary. Recently another Czech media article on this topic has attempted to take us back in time as well.

At the beginning of this month, that same daily reported on a statement made as part of an official ruling by State Prosecutor Zdeňka Gálková, according to which an Amnesty International research report on the discrimination of Romani children in the schools allegedly included demeaning, distorted and false information. Again, the time lag of six months between the state prosecutor's ruling and the Právo piece about it was no problem for the editors.

The daily did not even bother to ask the state prosecutor what the alleged untruths in the Amnesty International report consisted of. We can only imagine what kind of time travel Právo will take us on next.

Will the daily take us further back into history and report on the fact that 18 Romani children filed a complaint in Strasbourg? Will they point to the fact that the children's parents agreed to enroll their children into the "special schools" and fail to report the court judgment's subsequent finding that the parents' decisions had not been sufficiently informed?

This particular Czech daily already has a great deal of experience with manipulating public opinion against the reception of refugees here. Why not exploit those same tactics against another disadvantaged group, right?

Štěpán Drahokoupil, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Tags:  

Diskriminace, Evropa, Evropský soud pro lidská práva ve Štrasburku, Inkluzivní vzdělávání, segregace, Soud, Soutěž, škola, školství, Vzdělávání



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