MINELRES: ERRC Welcomes UN Children's Rights Committee Findings on the Czech Republic

European Roma Rights Center minelres@lists.delfi.lv
Tue Feb 4 07:22:01 2003


ERRC Welcomes Concluding Observations of the United Nations Committee on
the Rights of the Child on the Czech Republic

February 3, 2003

The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), an international public interest
law organisation which monitors the situation of Roma in Europe and
provides legal defense in cases of human rights abuse, welcomes the
Concluding Observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of
the Child on the Czech Republic’s compliance with the Convention on the
Rights of the Child.

In its Concluding Observations released at the end of its 32nd Session,
the Committee expresses its regret that some of its recommendations
in the previous concluding observations, including the “development of
awareness raising campaigns aimed at reducing discriminatory practices
against the Roma population”, have been insufficiently addressed. In
particular, the Committee reiterates concerns expressed by the United
Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Human
Rights Committee in noting that it “remains concerned at the persistence
of de facto discrimination against minorities, in particular the Roma
and other vulnerable groups”. The Committee “recommends that the State
party continue and strengthen its legislative efforts to fully integrate
the right to non-discrimination (article 2 of the Convention) in all
relevant legislation concerning children and that this right is
effectively applied in all political, judicial and administrative
decisions and in projects, programmes and services which have an impact
on all children, including non-citizen children and children belonging
to minority groups, such as the Roma.”

As regards violence and abuse directed against children, the Committee
is concerned that “certain groups of children, such as Roma, are
specifically targeted, and that a very small portion of reported cases
of suspicion of abuse and neglect are investigated”, and recommends that
the State party address these problems by “enacting legislation to
adequately protect minorities from racially motivated attacks” and
“ensuring that allegations of ill-treatment by the police and police
misconduct are promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigated by an
independent authority and that those responsible are identified and
brought before a competent tribunal that will apply sanctions provided
for by the law”, as well as by “implementing training programs to
promote respect for children belonging to minority groups, in particular
Roma children”.

As regards the right to education, the Committee is concerned that “Roma
children continue to be over-represented in so-called ‘special schools’”
and that “the implementation of the reform of the education system
remains insufficient”. The Committee recommends that “good quality
education” should be made available and accessible, to “all children in
the State party, giving particular attention to children in rural
communities, children from Roma and other minorities”. Moreover, the
Committee recommends that the State party “avoid as much as possible
that children of Roma origin or other children belonging to
disadvantaged groups” being assigned to "special schools". Finally, the
Committee encourages the State party to “develop curriculum resources
for all schools, including in relation to Roma history and culture, in
order to promote understanding, tolerance and respect of Roma in Czech
society.”

The Committee is also concerned about “the negative attitudes and
prejudices among the general public, media representations, incidents of
police brutality, and discriminatory behaviours on the part of some
persons working with and for children, including teachers and doctors.”
The Committee recommends that the State party “initiate campaigns…aimed
at addressing negative attitudes towards Roma…in particular among
authorities such as the police, and professionals providing health care,
education and other social services”, and also develop and implement “a
strategy for the improvement of access to primary health care, education
and social welfare services, in cooperation with Roma NGO partners, and
targeting the whole Roma child population.”

The full text of the Committee’s Concluding Observations is available
at: http://193.194.138.190/html/menu2/6/crc/doc/session32.htm.

In preparation for the Committee’s review of the Czech Republic’s
compliance with the Convention, on January 24, 2003, the ERRC submitted
a letter of concern focusing on discrimination against Romani children
and their de facto segregation in the so-called “special schools” for
the mildly mentally disabled. The full text of the ERRC letter of
concern is available at: http://errc.org/publications/legal/index.shtml.
More information on the human rights situation of Roma in the Czech 
Republic is available at:
http://www.errc.org/publications/indices/czechrepublic.shtml


_____________________________________________

The European Roma Rights Center is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the rights of Roma and provides legal defence
in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the European
Roma Rights Center, visit the ERRC on the web at http://www.errc.org.

European Roma Rights Center
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Hungary


Phone: +36 1 4132200
Fax:   +36 1 4132201

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