Turkey’s Roma population and similar social groups such as Abdal, totalling between two million and five million, have long been one of the country’s most marginalised communities. From hate speech and the threat of targeted violence to extreme poverty and exclusion, they suffer discrimination in almost every area of their lives. This situation has been sustained not only by deep-rooted social prejudice, but also by the indifference and even complicity of authorities to address their second-class status in Turkey.
I have worked for years in an NGO using strategic litigation as a tool to protect women’s rights and I strongly believe that strategic litigation is a key tool for protecting Roma rights, too.
Nombre de familles de Roms migrants s’attachent a faire en sorte que leurs enfants puisse être scolarisés et maintenir ainsi un pont culturel entre leur communauté et « le reste du monde ». Pourtant, la vie itinérante, le démantèlement régulier des campements et le rejet dont sont objet les communautés sont un lourd handicap dans leur parcours d’intégration. L’école de la République permet de maintenir ou ce créer ce lien social et certaines familles l’ont bien compris.
Over a year ago, a group of colleagues from Amnesty International and I started field research into discrimination of Romani children in Czech primary schools. We aimed to get an in-depth understanding of the daily reality beyond the official statistics (in Czech) which persistently show that over a third of pupils in schools and classes for children with mild mental disabilities are Roma. In addition, we also wanted to examine the situation of Roma in mainstream schools.
This report documents how the the Czech authorities are violating the human rights of Romani children in schools across the country. Romani children in the Czech Republic have for decades suffered systemic discrimination in primary education. Many are placed in so-called practical schools designated for pupils with mild mental disabilities. Those in mainstream schools are often segregated in Roma-only schools and classes or otherwise treated differently. Reports of racial bullying and ostracisation by non-Roma pupils, and even open prejudice by some teachers, are frequent.