A Small Victory over Discrimination in Mukachevo Schools

Roma discrimination

Whatever may be said about the state support of the integration of the Roma community in the Ukrainian society, to the real victory over discrimination is still far.

Examples of racial intolerance start at kindergarten and school. As you know, in Mukachevo is the so-called “segregated”, that is purely for Roma, secondary school No. 14. But if parents want to give some Roma child in another school, there are little chances that the child will study there.

The main reason, of course, is ignorance of the law. And in the most cases, even information about own rights. These are some principals that denied parents orally, and those are not even aware that the application can and must be done in writing.

The Roma lawyer of the “Mukachevo Rights Center” Renata Balog and social worker Georgina Pfeifer interested in one of these cases. The Roma parents applied to our Center with the problem that their child cannot enter the school, because “there is no place, classes are overcrowded.”

Human rights activists have helped parents to properly submit an application and collect the necessary documents. And now they come together to the director. Renata Balog admitted that they were ready to receive a written rejection and challenge it in court. First the situation was like that – the director tried to find a reason for rejection to the application. But after realizing that before him were not poorly educated people, the school head decided to accept the application. Consequently, from September the 1st the 6 year old Romani girl will sit at the desk with peers from Ukrainian, Russian, Hungarian and other minorities, which are many in our European city.

PS: The centers of legal information and advice that provide free legal aid to Roma people working with the support of the “Roma of Ukraine“, International “Renaissance” Foundation. To learn more about the activities of a network of centers, foundations and principles of work visit the website under “Legal Empowerment of Roma communities.” The views in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the International “Renaissance” Foundation and other civil, religious and political organizations and individuals.