Roma kids in Czech Republic subject to discrimination in schools, report says
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULApr 24, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Apr 24, 2015 12:00 am
Roma children in the Czech Republic are subjected to human rights violations, Amnesty International revealed on Thursday, as racist attitudes among non-Roma teachers and children suggest that some in the education system in the country is inherently racist. In the report titled "Must try harder: Ethnic discrimination of Roma Children in Czech schools," the violation of human rights of Roma children in schools committed by the Czech government was documented. While experiencing bullying and harassment, Roma children are "segregated in mainstream education in separate Roma-only classes, buildings and schools and even placed in schools for pupils with mild mental disabilities," the report says. Amnesty International called on the Czech government to halt ethnic prejudice and discrimination of Roma children in primary schools.
"The widespread segregation of Roma children is a horrifying example of systematic prejudice, with schools introducing children to bitter discrimination at an early age," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary-general said.
"By failing to properly address this issue for years, the Czech government is not only breaching EU and human rights law, but is restricting the life chances of tens of thousands of Czech citizens. Let's call this what it is: racism, pure and simple."
Europe's Roma population continues to suffer from discrimination and deplorable living conditions in many European countries. They have been subjected to discrimination and violent xenophobic attacks. In Italy, they have become the target of far-right groups. In Serbia, Romas were subjected to forcible eviction by the government. France's Roma population is a minority group targeted by vigilante attacks, stigmatized by hate speech and faces constant fear of harassment and discrimination. The Roma community in France has long experienced "high levels of discrimination, stereotyping and racism that result in serious violations of their human rights," while suffering from multiple expulsions and forced evictions from France. The European Roma Rights Center accused the French government of "hav[ing] a clearly harmful impact on the human rights situation of the Roma," due to the deplorable living conditions in informal Roma settlements in France set up by the government. Former French President Nicholas Sarkozy's harsh treatment of the Roma still continues with many Roma subjected to mass evictions. Prime Minister Manuel Valls's integrationist attitude toward Roma migrants is similar to Sarkozy's security policy that aimed to force Roma migrants who are residents of Romania and Bulgaria, to return to their countries of origin. In 2010, Sarkozy ordered the expulsion of illegal Roma migrants who had committed public order offenses due to concerns about public safety.
With an estimated population of 10 million to 12 million in Europe, the Roma are the largest ethnic minority group in Europe. France is home to around 400,000 Roma while 600,000 Roma currently live in Serbia, according to figures released by the Council of Europe's Roma and Travelers Division. The Roma community is defined by the European Commission as "a variety of groups of people who describe themselves as Roma, Gypsies, Travelers, Manouches, Ashkali, Sinti and other titles. The use of the term Roma is in no way intended to downplay the great diversity within the many different Roma groups and related communities, nor is it intended to promote stereotypes."