Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner condemns European anti-Gypsyism, including racist violence and segregation in the Czech Republic
The Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe, Thomas Hammarberg, has released a report in Brussels calling on European countries to correct the fact that Romani people suffer from blatant racism. In the report, the Commissioner also condemns the segregation of Romani children in the Czech school system and elsewhere.
In the Czech Republic, despite the 2004 School Act, a disproportionately high number of Romani children are assigned into "special schools". An estimated 30 % of Romani children are estimated to be educated in this way because of unjustified arguments about their reduced mental capacity, while only 2 % of non-Romani children are assigned to such education.
The practice in some other European countries is similar. In some mainstream elementary schools there are separate classrooms for Romani children, or they are seated together and separated from other children inside the classroom. Hammarberg, who is a well-known human rights defender from Sweden, says this segregation is also created by some non-Romani parents removing their children from classes attended by Romani children.
Hammarberg has condemned all such manifestations of segregation separating Romani children from other pupils and has called on Council of Europe countries to adopt clear, measurable arrangements to address this phenomenon. The jettisoning of segregation must be accompanied by essential assistance to Romani children so they can integrate into mainstream classes and undergo proper school instruction.
The report also states that violence against Romani people became widespread throughout Europe after 1989 and that in recent years the number of serious cases of such violence committed by extremist groups has significantly increased. The Czech Republic is also mentioned in this context.
"Collective violent crimes against Romani people have been reported, for example in the Czech Republic and Hungary," the Commissioner said. He also recalled previous reports of the forced sterilization of some Romani women in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.
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