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The European Commission has initiated an action of non-compliance against the Czech Republic for the discrimination of Roma children in education on the basis of article 258 of the Treaty for the Functioning of the European Union. The Czech Republic is found not to respect the integrality of the racial equality directive. Romani children are disproportionally put in special schools for children with mild mental abilities. They are also systematically put in separate classes and mainstream schools.
The Commission has sent a letter of notification to the Czech Republic on September 26 and has invited the member state to submit its observations. The Commission can then decide whether to close the action or to refer the case to the European Court of Justice.
The action of non-compliance follows years of reports and complaints of international organisations and NGOs on the discrimination and segregation of Roma children in the Czech Republic. In June 2013, the European Roma Rights Centre together with Amnesty International and the Open Society Justice Initiative submitted a briefing on the Czech situation to the Commission and urged it to initiate an infringement procedure.
AEDH welcomes the European Commission’s first step against discrimination of Roma in education, but wants to underline that disproportional representation of Roma children in schools for mental disabilities and their placement in separate classes and schools are not a Czech specific problem. Similar discrimination can be observed in almost every member state to different degrees as pointed out by AEDH report Roma people in Europe in the 21st century: violence, exclusion, insecurity (see chapter on segregation in the educational system).
Read the article: The Financial Times, Brussels probes Czech Republic over Roma, September 26, 2014.
Read the ERCC’s press release.
See also the AEDH’s report Roma people in Europe in the 21st century: violence, exclusion, insecurity.