Slovakia: Failure to address Roma discrimination puts Slovakia ‘on collision course with European Court of Justice’

Responding to the Slovak parliament’s failure to adopt an amendment to the School Act which would take steps to address discrimination against Roma children, Rado Sloboda, Director of Amnesty International Slovakia, said:

“The Slovak parliament missed a crucial chance today to adopt measures that end the unlawful segregation of Roma children in education. By failing to vote in favour of an amendment aimed at preventing systematic discrimination in education, Slovakia has dashed hopes of providing equal access to education for Roma children and set itself on a collision course with the European Court of Justice.

“Despite positive measures in the amended act, such as the provision of some support measures and the legal right to a place in kindergarten, today’s amendment falls woefully short of what is needed to comply with the state’s obligations to protect the rights of Roma children. Without concrete desegregation measures, these amendments will not adequately tackle discriminatory practices, condemning Roma children in Slovakia to ongoing segregation in education.

“Last month, the European Commission referred Slovakia to the European Court of Justice for violating the EU’s rules on racial equality, specifically for failing to adequately address discrimination against Roma children in education. Slovakia must urgently take measures to desegregate its education system and comply with EU law.”


Roma children are systematically denied their rights to education and non-discrimination in education in Slovakia. They are overwhelmingly segregated and placed in Roma-only schools and classes, or in special schools and classes for children with “mild mental disabilities”.

In Slovakia, 65% of Roma students aged 6-15 attend schools where all or most students are Roma, which means Slovakia is the EU Member State with the highest share of Roma segregation in education.

In April 2015, the European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against Slovakia for breaching the prohibition of discrimination in education set out in the EU Race Equality Directive. Last month, the European Commission decided to refer Slovakia to the Court of Justice of the European Union.