School discrimination against Roma: EU gives strong signal by taking action against the Czech Republic

Brussels, 26 September 2014 – The European Commission yesterday announced that it would initiate legal action (so-called infringement proceedings) against the Czech Republic for discrimination against Roma children in schools. The European Roma Policy Coalition welcomes this long-awaited move. It sends a strong message that discrimination on racial grounds is unlawful and violates the European Union’s (EU) basic values.

“We have been calling for this for a long time”, said Michael Privot, representative of the European Roma Policy Coalition. “There has been ample evidence of widespread school segregation and discrimination against Roma children in Czech schools for years. The European Commission is now finally playing its role of guardian of EU law and values and taking action against Member States who breach EU anti-discrimination law.”

Anti-Gypsyism is a prevalent and serious concern across Europe, not just in the Czech Republic. This infringement procedure is a good first step, however it must be followed by further concrete action to end discriminatory practices in Member States.

For further information, contact:
Georgina Siklossy, Communication and Press Officer, European Network Against Racism
Tel: +32 (0)2 229 35 70 - Mobile: +32 (0)473 490 531 - Email: georgina@enar-eu.org

Notes to the editor:
1. The European Roma Policy Coalition (ERPC) is an informal gathering of non-governmental organisations operating at EU level on issues of human rights, anti-discrimination, anti-racism, social inclusion, and Roma and Travellers’ rights. Its members are Amnesty International, European Network Against Racism (ENAR), the European Roma Grassroots Organizations Network (ERGO), the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), the European Roma Information Office (ERIO), Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG), the Open Society Institute (OSI), Policy Center for Roma and Minorities, the Roma Education Fund.

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