Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 November 2014, 14:08 GMT

Slovak court rules segregation of Roma in schools unlawful

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 31 October 2012
Cite as Amnesty International, Slovak court rules segregation of Roma in schools unlawful, 31 October 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/509781bb2.html [accessed 25 November 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

A historic Slovak court ruling that the segregation of Roma in schools is unlawful sends a strong signal to the authorities that separate education based on the ethnicity of the pupils is unacceptable, said Amnesty International.

The Regional Court in Prešov, eastern Slovakia on Tuesday ruled that by segregating Romani pupils in separate classes, the elementary school in the village of Šarišské Michalany had violated the law.The decision is final.

The complaint against the school was submitted by the NGO, Centre for Civil and Human Rights (Poradna pre obcianske a ludské práva) in 2010.

"This landmark judgment is a signal to the authorities, including the Ministry of Education, that segregation of Romani pupils on the basis of ethnicity violates the right to equality and Slovakia's international obligations to end discrimination," said Marek Marczynski, Deputy Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International..

Amnesty International has been documenting cases of segregation of Roma in schools since 2006 and showing that the practice affects thousands of pupils throughout Slovakia.

The segregation takes various forms. In some cases, such as in Šarišské Michalany, Romani children are placed in separate classes. In others, Romani pupils are segregated in special schools or classes which provide inferior education.

The case of Šarišské Michalany is not unique in Slovakia. Amnesty International, along with Romani parents, has been campaigning against segregation of pupils in Roma-only classes in the elementary school on Francisciho Street in the town of Levoca, also in the eastern region of Prešov.

Succumbing to pressure from non-Roma parents, the school had placed Romani first graders into separate classes.

Although a small number of pupils were transferred to the mixed classes in the current school year, the school continues to run Roma-only classes.

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