Segregation of Roma children

In Stará Ľubovňa, Slovakia, Roma children are segregated in Roma-only primary schools.

According to the first judgment of the Supreme Court (which holds the Ministry of Education and the municipal institutions responsible), the city of Stará Ľubovňa, where the school is located, “violated the principle of equal treatment”, the court said in a statement on Tuesday.

It also “to take sufficient preventive measures to protect against discrimination and measures to eliminate discrimination against Roma children” in primary schools, it added.

“This judgment is extremely important because it confirms the segregationist treatment of Roma children. There are many similar cases, and they are not only related to education,” said Peter Pollák Jr, a member of the National Council.

The case has been going on since 2015, when the NGO Civil and Human Rights Advisory Board filed a lawsuit against Slovakia under the anti-discrimination law. The Supreme Court’s ruling differs from earlier decisions by the Bratislava County and Regional Court, which both said there was no segregation in the school.

“The ruling sends a clear message to state institutions that they must act and start taking measures to desegregate Roma children not only in Roma classes but also in purely Roma schools,” said Vanda Durbáková, the plaintiff’s lawyer.

They must identify the causes and propose effective measures to end segregation. This is in the interest of society as a whole,” she said.


Photo: The city of Stará Ľubovňa, where the school is located, “violated the principle of equal treatment,” according to the court’s statement from Tuesday. [Shutterstock/Gonzalo Bell]