Czechs segregating Roma students
Two human rights groups hailed a decision by the European Court of Human Rights saying the Czech government indirectly discriminated against Roma students.
The European court ruled the Czech government practiced indirect discrimination against Roma children by unnecessarily designating them to special education programs, a Human Rights Watch news release said Wednesday.
"The European Court recognized that the right to education is vital to the future of these children," said Lois Whitman, director of the Children's Rights Division at Human Rights Watch. "Our research across the world shows that access to education is critical to breaking cycles of disadvantage for children everywhere."
In 2000, 18 Czech nationals of Roma origin complained to the European Court that the decision to place them in special education programs violated the European Convention on Human Rights granting equal rights to an education.
The court found the Roma a disadvantaged and vulnerable minority in need of special protection, noting the segregation "compounded their difficulties" and failed to address "their real problems or helping them to integrate."
David Geer, executive director of INTERIGHTS, said the ruling "establishes an important precedent and provides valuable guidance for those wanting to challenge inequality across different grounds of discrimination." // Copyright 2007 by United Press International