Hungary condemned by Strasbourg court for educational segregation of Roma student

March 31. 2023. – 10:20 AM


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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has fined Hungary 7,000 euros in a ruling on Thursday in a case concerning the segregation of the Roma in education, the Hungarian State News Agency, MTI reports.

The plaintiff in the case, who is of Roma origin, attended a primary school between 2013 and 2014 where all the pupils were Roma. According to the plaintiff, the curriculum taught at the school was substandard, and the 2013 education data showed that less than 10 percent of pupils from the school continued their education afterwards.

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At the time, the complainant's mother applied to the education authority and requested to have her son transferred to another school that would better accommodate his learning difficulties due to his hearing impairment. This request was rejected by the competent authorities, as the boy did not live in the school district in question, even though the other school was only five minutes away from his home by public transport.

Because of this, in December 2015, the applicant lodged a constitutional complaint, claiming that he had a right to non-discriminatory education, but it was rejected by the Hungarian Constitutional Court. However, the ECHR found that the complainant was "educated under segregated conditions". Hungary must therefore pay the complainant €7,000 in moral damages and a further €4,537 in legal costs.

The lawyer who has represented the family since 2014 said that the decision is precedent-setting because the court also ordered the government to end segregated education in the primary school concerned.

In addition, the ruling requires Hungary to develop public policy measures to end educational segregation beyond the school in question.

The judgment states that "Social coexistence free from racial segregation is a fundamental value in democratic societies, and integrated education is one of the means of achieving this". Vivien Brassói of the European Roma Rights Centre and Judit Gellér, who worked on the case, stressed that the ruling is also important in the context of the ongoing infringement proceedings against Hungary for the educational segregation of Roma children.

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