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Czech Republic: Roma children denied equal education

 
 
Reply Wed 14 Nov, 2007 11:24 pm
Before 2000, when I lived in Slovaka, the discrimintion of Roma children was one of the main topics of the human rights non-profit I worked at as well as of many others. Children, whose first language often isn't Slovak (or Czech or whatever the case may be), but Roma... a diametrally different language. Upon entering primary school, kids would often fail placement tests and end up in schools for mentally handicapped children. At one point in time this was the case of over 50% of the Roma kids (and our Roma minority is well over half a million of people, so we're talking hundreds of thousands of ruined lives over the decades of this practice).

Ethnic, racial, gender, or sexual orientation discrimination was almost an untouchable subject. THere has been some progress, but it is still rather sad. Cases of racially motivated violence, hate crimes and the like were impossible to even get registered with the police, not to mention prove. That is why the current news is so important and groundbreaking when it comes to education systems in Central and Eastern Europe.

Recently, 18 Roma youths from the Czech Republic sued their government for failing to provide them with equal opportunity. They ran their case all the way to the European Court for Human Rights (thankgod for its existence), decisions of which are binding and override the domestic jurisdiction. Below is the Human Rights Watch report summarizing the case.
Hallelujah.

Human Rights Watch Report
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Type: Discussion • Score: 6 • Views: 8,335 • Replies: 81
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Nov, 2007 11:49 pm
I'll have something to add..
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Nov, 2007 11:56 pm
OK.

That's almost scary.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Nov, 2007 12:11 am
Ha! No, just a question of timing.
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Nov, 2007 12:16 am
Fine. Just don't you dare to burst my pink optimstic bubble with some facts or rational thinking. I have my boxing gloves ready, just in case.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Nov, 2007 05:34 am
Quote:
EU action is needed to end Slovakia's discrimination against Roma children

Amnesty International
Open Society Institute
Joint Statement - 15 November 2007

Amnesty International and the Open Society Institute call for EU action on Slovakia to end the systematic violation of the right of Roma children to education.

The segregation of Roma children in Slovakia is a particularly serious manifestation of the overall problem of Roma discrimination in the EU, with widespread repercussions for these children and their community. In separate reports, Amnesty International and the Open Society Institute concluded that Slovak Roma children are placed disproportionately in schools for children with mental disabilities or segregated into Roma-only schools. In some parts of Eastern Slovakia 100% of schools are segregated.

Roma children in Slovakia also receive worse quality education than other Slovak children. Majority-Roma schools are overcrowded and more unqualified teachers work there. As a result the levels of literacy within the Roma population in Slovakia are persistently low.

With an inferior curriculum in the first years of schooling, Roma children in Slovakia have a remote possibility of entering mainstream schools or pursuing higher education. Discrimination at this early age therefore undermines the potential of entire generations and also contributes to the further marginalisation of the Roma community as a whole. Research has shown that the Roma living in Eastern Slovakia, in particular, are among the most deprived communities in Europe, facing discrimination in accessing services and exercising a number of basic rights including the rights to health and work, and to freedom of expression and political participation - all key avenues to breaking a vicious cycle of poverty and marginalization. As Katarina Tomaševski, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education, noted: "The right to education is the pass key to unlocking other human rights."

Amnesty International and the Open Society Institute consider that the Slovak government, despite some efforts to improve the situation, so far has failed to recognise and genuinely commit to ending the blatant discrimination of Roma children. The special measures that have been introduced to address the problem are not compulsory or monitored and in many cases they are not implemented.

Furthermore, domestic law still allow a very wide scope for discrimination, with non-objective criteria used to justify the segregation of children. For example, current provisions allow for a child with basic communication problems to be placed in a school for children with disabilities. In some cases the ratio of Roma children in these so-called "special" schools, amounts to 80%.

The two leading human rights NGOs call on the European Union to press the Slovak government to abide by the guiding human rights principles and values of the Union through:

  • providing the necessary financial and technical assistance to support and monitor all efforts by the Slovak government to end the discrimination of Roma children and ensure that they can access equal and quality education.
They also urge the EU to put further pressure on the Slovak government to:

  • reverse systematic segregation in access to education;
  • publicly commit to desegregation;
  • amend domestic legislation, specifically the School Act, to ensure that special measures to advance the education of Roma children are made compulsory and new measures are introduced to explicitly tackle segregated education;
  • ensure full participation of the Roma community in setting and implementing policies and programmes.
Finally, Amnesty International and the Open Society Institute ask the EU to adopt an integrated policy on Roma, so as to make real use of all legal and financial instruments supposed to target discrimination in EU countries.

Amnesty International's report Still separate, still unequal: Violations of the right to education for Romani children in Slovakia, is presented today simultaneously at press conferences in Bratislava and in Brussels.

The Open Society Institute's report Equal Access to Quality Education for Roma in Slovakia, released today, is part of a monitoring reports series covering the nine countries participating in the Decade of Roma Inclusion, 2005-2015.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Nov, 2007 05:59 am
In US we have the Romnichalii, pavee, the "Irish Travellers" . ALl have a separatist culture whose morality includes preying on the defenseless of the the rest of us, the"gadje" or "minghini" (not sure of the spelling).
There are so many scam artists of gypsy culture who run "home improvement" frauds all up and down the East Coast of the US.
Im not really too sympathetic to their rights ecept under the Miranda decree and presumption of innocense.
At a sentencing hearing in SC a few years ago, a gypsy "clan" ran a roofing scam from their mansions in Edgefield SC, in their allocution they merely stated that,with respect tohow they continued these scams, they tried to give it some sense of purpose in the eyes of their clans. Its almost like they were saying"its what we do"

My mom was ripped off by a gypsy siding company by making a series of "down payments" to have a large outbuilding sided in cement tiles. These guys had no experience and werent even licensed. By the time I became aware of her plight, it was at a family dinner after about a month after she made the payments. We knew who did the scamming but noone could prosecute because the laws that they broke were local and had no "interstate" scma potential. My mom was out about 8K, not a big amount nfor her, but it left her with a sense that she didnt know how to trust any future contractors without getting us in the family involved.
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Nov, 2007 04:39 pm
farmerman wrote:
In US we have the Romnichalii, pavee, the "Irish Travellers" . ALl have a separatist culture whose morality includes preying on the defenseless of the the rest of us, the"gadje" or "minghini" (not sure of the spelling).
There are so many scam artists of gypsy culture who run "home improvement" frauds all up and down the East Coast of the US.
Im not really too sympathetic to their rights ecept under the Miranda decree and presumption of innocense.
At a sentencing hearing in SC a few years ago, a gypsy "clan" ran a roofing scam from their mansions in Edgefield SC, in their allocution they merely stated that,with respect tohow they continued these scams, they tried to give it some sense of purpose in the eyes of their clans. Its almost like they were saying"its what we do"

My mom was ripped off by a gypsy siding company by making a series of "down payments" to have a large outbuilding sided in cement tiles. These guys had no experience and werent even licensed. By the time I became aware of her plight, it was at a family dinner after about a month after she made the payments. We knew who did the scamming but noone could prosecute because the laws that they broke were local and had no "interstate" scma potential. My mom was out about 8K, not a big amount nfor her, but it left her with a sense that she didnt know how to trust any future contractors without getting us in the family involved.


farmer, what does that have to do with education policies in central europe?

you know, not all gypsies in this world are scum. where i come from, most are trying to make it, and are constantly smacked on their head by society's disapproval, discrimination and racial prejudices and stereotypes. our employment policy used to allow to put 'R' on job applications. nobody hires the roma. vast majority is unemployed. our doctors used to sterilize roma women without their knowledge (forget even approval) - another of our roma scandals.. i could go on and on. i have been through most of our roma settlement, in fact i grew up right next to one. there are stark cultural differences, but that is no ground for sending somebody's children to school for mentally retarded... or i'm actually not sure what your post was trying to say on the topic other than your contempt for the whole group.

i myself was pick-pocketed by a Roma once. Also by a Spaniard in Spain and once by a kid in Ukraine... that is no ground for dismissal of all roma, all spaniards, and all ukrainians.
i often wondered - if i was born in a segregated settlement with no infrastructure to a group of people that was shunned for centuries (documented well back to the 12th century... e.g. 'fox hunts' on gypsies, expelling, roma holocaust,...), in combination with social discrimination (historically no access to education or better paying jobs or services) and against whom the dominant culture is so antagonistic and resentful, i wonder what would i be like? what kind of a person would i grow up to be?

resentment is easy. and there are many social and cultural reasons for it. what is the solution though? certainly not mentally retarded institutions, forced sterilizations, or removing children forcibly from parents and sticking them into orphanages. sorry to go on a tirade, but this topic is very important to me and i do get emotional... and i do realize that.

Meanwhile, the Slovak vice prime minister for minorities and the slovak plenipotentiary for the roma issues denied the accusations as false. they may have denied the nose between their eyes just as well, as there are plentiful statistics.

eh, gotta go calm down.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Nov, 2007 05:46 pm
Their morality is based upon an almost pack survival. Im not denying the need for equal educational opportunities, but the Rom and the Dom are an ethnic minority where thievery is a fine art. Ask any Irishman in Ireland, theyll be as loving to a Traveller as the next guy. They just wont leave any money in the open.
Please spare me the lectures, Ive had too much experience with the American versions of these clans and , in many states theyve been prosecuted under RICCO statutes.

I believe I am a bigot when it comes to the Romnichalli and pavee in the US. I dont trust any of em.
Remember the origins of these cultures, the Rom and Dom, are travelling nomads similar to Beduins.What school district has jurisdiction? Theyve tried in US but the travellers just pick up and move. Some of the best house RV's are owned by Travellers.
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Nov, 2007 05:58 pm
well, our Roma are not travelers. i'm not taking away your opinion, you have every right to be bigoted, especially if you know about it and admit it.

i just cringe whenever 'they' is used too much.
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Nov, 2007 06:00 pm
on another note - just in slovakia there are 4 culturally and historically distinct groups of roma. across europe there are more. they have diverse cultures, social status, beliefs, practices...etc. they do have same or similar language.

so i also cringe when they are all lumped into one.
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Nov, 2007 06:03 pm
and, last but not least, i still don't understand the purpose of your posts here. is it to say that 'they' are all thieves and so these policies in eastern europe are justified? i think not, i believe you even said so. or is it just to announce to the world that you believe that they are all thieves? i don't get it.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Nov, 2007 06:08 pm
genetics studies have confirmed that specific alleles are common to the Rom and the Dom , and their sub-populations just as Amerinds carry STR's(short tandem repeat alleles) in 2 gene groups , those that appear to be Asian , and those that may be Indo European. The Rom and The DOm appear to have originated in the India Pakistan areas and then split into 2 groups which then split further.

As legend said, the Spartans were trained to be courageous and brave. They were not under socil strictures to NOT steal, just NOT get caught. Much of the Romnichalli follow this "educational process".

Boy I know Im a bigot oin this, but Im never gonna change my mind, Ive seen too much damage and theft and bunko perped by guypsy bands in US, so I have trouble finding or distinguishing the "honest" ones.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Nov, 2007 06:15 pm
Farmerman, I have to say I'm kind of shocked to see your posts, here.
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Nov, 2007 06:18 pm
farmer, i have studied the roma history in detail. i worked with the roma for 5+ years.

i will not comment further.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Nov, 2007 01:15 am
In today's The Guardian:

Apartheid in the heart of Europe: how Roma children lose out on education

Quote:
But studies from Amnesty International and the philanthropist George Soros's Open Society Institute (OSI) confirm that similar discrimination is rampant in Slovakia. "Segregation happens in two ways," said Amnesty. "Huge numbers of Roma continue to be segregated into Roma-only schools and classes. Many are also inappropriately placed in 'special schools' for children with physical and mental disabilities ... As many as 80% of children placed in special schools in Slovakia are Roma."

The OSI study found that Roma children in Slovakia are 28 times more likely to be put in special schools than non-Roma pupils, and in the Czech Republic 27 times more likely.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Nov, 2007 06:52 am
Please folks, dont attempt to take a moral high ground, I said I was biased. Im like a liberal whose been mugged. If you wish to discuss the real socialization of children in the "Traveller" community, I can rip things from headlines after headlines re: bunco scams, trials where the extradition process couldnt be served because the travellers merely moved on,.

Dag, Id suggest getting some grounding in congenital disorders and tracking STR's and mutations unique to the Romani. They are all genetically isolated groups of a single founder population. They have more congenital disorders and motor and sensory neuropathys than the Amish (Thats cause theres 10 times more of em).(Theres a famous study by Horvath et al about the genetic makeup of Romani), which, btw proves my point. They dont wanna be anything but separatists and, like the AMish, theyve got some really unique habits tht have taken 1000 years to develop.

Im outta here, I can see where the PC police wont like me exhorcizing my Romnachelli ghosts.
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Nov, 2007 08:51 am
dagmaraka wrote:
farmer, i have studied the roma history in detail. i worked with the roma for 5+ years.

farmerman wrote:
If you wish to discuss the real socialization of children in the "Traveller" community, I can rip things from headlines after headlines [..]


Right. If I want to learn about the "real socialisation" of Roma children and all, what would I want to base myself on? Years of studying Roma history in detail and working with them for years, or "ripping things from headlines after headlines"?

Sounds to me like you should be asking Dag about things, rather than telling her about 'how it really is'. She's got years of up-close expertise, you have some personal experiences and "headlines after headlines". Nothing to do with being PC, just recognizing where the most expertise is.
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Nov, 2007 08:56 am
bookmarking
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Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Nov, 2007 09:51 am
Dag,

Thank you for your thoughtful post. It brought me to tears.

I went to the internet and brought up an incredible photo essay done by Roma children in contemporary europe. Not pretty pictures.

I probably would not have been so aware, and picked up on your post, had I not recently attended a piano concert in Brookline, Massachusetts given by a young woman from Latvia. She had long, black hair and dark eyes, unusual for a Latvian, and when she sat down at the piano and began to play, the keyboard burst into flames with her passionate renderings of classic and contemporary composers.

One elderly Latvian woman chucked into my ear from behind her program, she's gypsy.

This young woman was a Latvian Roma.

My ears are so happy that someone bothered to educate her.

Sg
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