European Commission not satisfied with Czech response to discrimination of Romani children
According to new information reported by Czech Television, the European Commission is not satisfied with the response of the Czech Government regarding the issue of the discrimination of Romani children in the schools. An official response to the Government will be sent by Brussels within the next few weeks.
It seems certain now that politicians in Brussels consider the Czech response insufficient in two respects: In the first place, the Government claims the Commission has no authority with respect to the schools. In the second place, the Government denies that discrimination is occurring.
The Commission turned to the Czech Republic with a request for an explanation of the alleged discrimination of Romani children in the schools last September. In its November response, the Government rejected allegations of a problem and claimed the Commission does not have precise data regarding the situation in the Czech schools.
The Czech Republic has long been criticized by experts, international institutions and NGOs for assigning too many Romani children into special education and for not ensuring equal access to education. One of the breakthrough moments in the long-running dispute over this topic was the 2007 European Court of Human Rights judgment in the case of "D.H. and Others vs. the Czech Republic".
The court ruled that the placement of Romani children into the "special schools" was occurring in a discriminatory fashion. The situation in the schools seven years after that judgment, however, has not undergone any fundamental change and the dispute about the future of the "special schools" and the discrimination of Romani children persists.
Currently this dispute has been shifted to Parliament, where legislators will be reviewing an amendment to the Schools Act. They will probably have the European Commission's opinion available to them when they decide on that amendment.
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