Amnesty International has a devastating new documentary up about the segregation of Romani children in Slovak schools. As I work on Roma issues, this hit me hard. Slovakia has been a member of the European Union since 2004, yet it still practices blatant, state-sanctioned racial discrimination, and denies its Roma citizens (who account for about 1/10 of the total population) basic human rights. Shameful.

Here is another video that should give you a better idea of the appalling conditions of life Roma in Eastern Europe are subject to.

the short film is titled "Vuka Vrcevica," the name of a slum on the Belgrade municipal dump in Belgrade, where thousands of people live in abject poverty and squalor. (I’ve seen this slum myself, and it’s awful.)

On a more positive note, IntLawGrrls has a post about the case that is being called "Europe’s Brown v. The Board of Education," a case in which the ECtHR ruled against the Czech Republic for systematic discrimination against Romani students.

          Europe’s Brown v. Board of Education

It would be hard to exaggerate the level of racism experienced by Roma
(widely known as “gypsies,” a word many Roma abhor) in virtually every
facet of daily life. Hostility toward Roma runs so wide and deep that
it is peculiarly difficult to dismantle: Governments that have an
otherwise strong commitment to human rights all too often act on the
belief that Roma have earned the stereotypes that are enforced to their
Thus it is all the more noteworthy that discrimination
against Roma in the Czech Republic provided the occasion for this
week’s historic judgment by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
In the Case of D.H. and Others v. the Czech Republic the Court’s Grand Chamber ruled on November 13, 2007, that Czech Roma have suffered unlawful discrimination in relation to education,
a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocol
No. 1. (Proud disclosure: My colleagues at the Open Society Justice
Initiative, James Goldston and Anthony Lester, were lead attorneys in the case.)
decision marked a watershed in anti-discrimination law in Europe. For
the first time, the ECHR found that a pattern of racial discrimination
in primary education, in this case resulting in an especially
pernicious form of segregation, violated the anti-discrimination
provision of the European Convention.