159 Years of Freedom from Slavery - Acting for Eliminating Segregation of Roma Children Final event of DARE - Net Desegregation and Action for Roma in Education project
The event “159 Years of Freedom from Slavery - Acting for Eliminating Segregation of Roma Children”, organized by members of DARE Network-Romani CRISS, European Roma Rights Centre, Life Together Association (Czech Republic), Antigone (Greece), Integro Association (Bulgaria), the FXB Center at the Harvard University with the support of the Roma Member of the European Parliament, Mr Damian Draghici, took place today in Brussels. The event has brought together activists, academics, policy makers, and members of communities to address inter-related themes of school segregation and historical injustices.
Marking 159 years of freedom from Roma slavery in Romania, the conference specifically addressed segregation, a contemporary form of serious discrimination, affecting Roma children in many European countries.
Soraya Post, Member of the European Parliament, highlighted: “We mark the abolishment of slavery in Romania this month. Segregation in education is a sign that oppression still has not stopped in Europe. We should reach consensus amongst politicians, institutions and teachers to stop segregation. All the actors in the society reached consensus against Roma, so it is now the time to join forces against segregation”.
Damian Draghici, Member of the European Parliament, mentioned: “To achieve desegregation we need a change in the attitudes of the teachers and the representatives of the institutions. We should educate the educators.”
FXB Centre for Heath and Human Rights at Harvard University has elaborated, within the project, the report “Strategies to Combat Segregation of Romani Children in Schools - Case studies in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, and Romania”. Jacqueline Bhabha, director of research at FXB Centre, noted: “The question of desegregation is a complex process. Segregation involves the segregator, but also the response of the segregated. Roma community can be encouraged and supported to counter segregation.”
The discussants also addressed legislation as a tool to combat segregation and discrimination concluding that: “Although all countries in CEE complied with international human rights framework, by ratifying conventions and transposed the EU directives in their national legislation, almost none obey these commitments” (Margareta Matache, instructor at FXB Centre).
“I hope we will be able to work together to abolish discrimination, the same way we, the Romanian society, together with it European counterparts, were able to abolish slavery 159 years ago” Marian Mandache, executive director of Romani CRISS concluded.
 Short version of the report available here: http://fxb.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2015/02/Romani-Segregation-2015-brief-version-final.pdf