Thursday, April 28, 2005

Roma children suffer at hands of Czech Republic

Roma living in the Czech Republic have a history of poverty and persecution. The Roma, dark in complexion, are thought to have migrated to Europe from India centuries ago. Their nomadic life set them apart from other groups. They are the poorest and largest minority group in Europe, with large numbers concentrated in former Communist countries. Roma children, especially, suffer stigmatization at the hands of the education-run Czech government.

Up to 75 percent of the Roma children attend schools intended for the mentally disabled and are receiving what human rights groups contend is a substandard education that can lead to a lifetime of unemployment, dependence on welfare and even crime. Now, advocates for Roma rights have begun legal action to change the situation.

What a heinous violation of human rights! The government fires back by saying that the parents are responsible for their children's education. This is an ignorant response. The plight of these children is unacceptable.

The country's 120 "special" schools, the term traditionally used to describe the combined elementary and middle schools for the mentally disabled in the Czech Republic, were created by the Communist government in the 1960's. Their graduates are largely ineligible to apply to college or to obtain a job beyond the most basic manual labor.

According to the State Department's annual human rights report issued in March, 90 percent of the children in Czech special schools are Roma. Critics of the government's education policy charge that this is the result of bias, and lawyers representing Roma children have filed the first systematic legal challenge against school discrimination in Europe.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, is considering whether to hear the case of 18 teenagers from Ostrava who argue that their placement in special schools in the late 1990's violated their right to protection against discrimination granted under Czech and European law.

The degradation of these children at the hands of their government must not be tolerated and the Court of Human Rights must hold the Czech Republic government accountable. Full story here.


Blogger Billy said...

this is shitty. racism and discrimination is a global malignancy. i see no end in sight until we look deep deep deep inside and recognize that we are part of one human family.

12:48 AM  
Blogger The Complimenting Commenter said...

That is a horrible situation. I'm glad that you are posting topics like this to bring the situation to light. Keep it up!

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