Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Calls on Czech Republic to End Discriminatory Practices Against People with Disabilities


press release of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

Roma segregation remains a serious problem in the Czech Republic

Prague, 15/11/2012 - “The “practical schools” in the Czech Republic perpetuate segregation of Roma children, inequality and racism. They should be phased out and replaced by mainstream schools able to host and provide support to all pupils, irrespective of their ethnic origin”, stated the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, in his preliminary observations after a four-day visit to the Czech Republic.

Commissioner Muižnieks regrets that five years after the D.H. judgment by the European Court of Human Rights, little has been done to address segregation of Roma pupils in education. “The Czech government should bring to an end the vicious circle of segregated education that affects Roma children and costs the whole country so much, both financially and socially. The commitment expressed by the Ministry of Education to fully execute the D.H. judgment and provide quality education to Roma is promising and needs to be fully supported”.

The Commissioner welcomes the Interior Ministry’s ongoing efforts to enhance pluralism and participation of members of national minorities, including Roma, in the Czech police forces and notes with satisfaction that the Czech Republic will soon accede to the Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems.

As regards the rights of persons with disabilities, the Commissioner stresses the need to overhaul and transform psychiatric care in the Czech Republic. “Promoting de-institutionalisation, fully protecting persons with disabilities from involuntary hospitalisation, and eliminating ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty are priority tasks”.

The Commissioner also welcomes the fact that in 2014 legislation will enter into force  providing for abolition of full deprivation of legal capacity and the review by courts of around 22 000 such cases, and called for sustained efforts to properly train and inform all legal and other professionals who will apply the new law and implement the standards contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Commissioner’s report on this visit is forthcoming.

Press contact in the Commissioner’s Office:

Stefano Montanari, + 33 (0)6 61 14 70 37;; Twitter: @CommissionerHR


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