MINELRES: ERRC: European Court of Human Rights Agrees to Hear Appeal in Important School Discrimination Case against Croatia

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon Jan 12 18:01:42 2009

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

In Extraordinary Move, European Court of Human Rights Agrees to Hear
Appeal in Important School Discrimination Case against Croatia

Budapest, 7 January 2009: The European Court of Human Rights has advised
that it has agreed to hear an appeal in an important case of
discrimination on the basis of ethnicity involving Romani children
forced into segregated classes in Croatia. The case was originally
submitted in December 2004 by the European Roma Rights Centre and the
Croatian Helsinki Committee on behalf of fourteen Croatian children of
Roma origin. All of the applicants at that time attended separate
Roma-only classes in Croatian primary schools. Their placement in
segregated classes stemmed from a blatant practice of discrimination
based on race/ethnicity, the pervasive anti-Romani sentiment of the
majority community, and the unwillingness of the Croatian authorities to
remedy these illegal acts. 

In addition, the children were subjected to a curriculum in the
Roma-only classes that was significantly reduced in scope and volume as
compared to the officially prescribed teaching plan, which resulted in
lower quality education. Data provided by Croatian education officials
confirmed this practice of segregation.  In some communities, over 80%
of the Romani children were confined to segregated classes.  

Lawyers for the children praised the Court’s action.  Lovorka Kusan,
representing the applicants, said:  “With Croatia aspiring to join the
European Union, it is important that the European Court expands its
protection of Romani children from illegal discrimination.  There should
be no tolerance for ghetto classrooms, in Croatia or anywhere else in
Europe.”  Andi Dobrushi, counsel for the ERRC, stated that “the Court
has another opportunity to reinforce and further clarify its stance
regarding equality and integration in education.” 

The Court has scheduled oral argument in the case for 1 April 2009.  

The request for Grand Chamber referral is available at:


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

To support the ERRC, please visit this link:

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200
Fax: +36.1.413.2201

The Croatian Helsinki Committee is the foremost organization for the
protection of human rights in Croatia. Last year it handled more than
1,080 individual cases of various human rights’ violations. For more
information on the Croatian Helsinki Committee, visit the HHO on the web
at http://www.hho.hr 

Hrvatski helsinski odbor za ljudska prava
Antuna Bauera 4
HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Tel: +385.

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