Uddrag af Europarådets kommissær for menneskerettigheders rapport af 8/7 - 2004 "Report on the visit to Denmark, 13-16 April 2004":


Om Helsingørs sigøjnerklasser:

I was particularly concerned during my visit to hear of difficulties faced by Roma children in accessing education. My attention was drawn in particular to the situation in Elsinore Municipality, where there are reportedly special Roma-classes, which are defined in the municipality’s report[1] as classes for ‘Roma pupils who cannot be in a normal class or in a special class’. [...] According to the complaint, 30 children are enrolled in so-called Romi classes, which, whilst not officially described as classes for special education, offer education that corresponds to that of classes for special education rather than regular classes. The pupils in the classes are not of the same age, but from all class levels in the public school system. Reportedly, practically none of the Roma children ever make it back to normal classes again. No proper pedagogical-psychological counselling and assessment takes place prior to a placement of a child to a Romi class.[2] Instead, the decision is taken on the basis of the assessment of the teachers alone. It was noted that the children in Romi classes have widely differing problems, some of which could be better addressed in special classes with other children with similar problems.[3]


Such classes give rise to three problems. Firstly, I find it difficult to understand, why those Roma children, who are in need of special education, cannot be placed in the regular classes offering special education referred to above, and receive an education better tailored to their needs. Such segregated classes give rise to serious doubts as to the equality of access to quality education. It is, secondly, of evident concern, that part of the criteria for the placement of children in such classes is their ethnic background. Such segregation may lead to Roma children with no special needs having to attend these classes, with a curriculum inferior to regular classes, with inevitably detrimental effects for their prospects for future education and employment. Thirdly, such a policy is very likely to increase the exclusion of the Roma children from the mainstream society. I therefore strongly encourage that alternative solutions be considered.


Mere generelt skrev kommisæren:

While the authorities have estimated the number of Roma living in Denmark at around one thousand, other estimations place this number far higher. In addition to the Roma who have traditionally lived in Denmark (with the first Roma arriving in the 16th century), many have arrived more recently.[4] Many of the indigenous Roma have, however, lost their mother tongue, but I was informed that there has been a renewed eagerness to maintain and rejuvenate the Roma culture, language and traditions.


I heard a number of reports of discrimination against Roma regarding access to employment, housing and education, suggesting that further efforts are required to ensure the equal enjoyment of all rights by the Roma in Denmark.  Whilst this is primarily a matter of enforcing existing legislation, raising awareness and targeting assistance, I welcome the current dialogue entered into by the Government concerning the application of provisions of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities to the Roma.  Such protection would greatly increase the confidence of the Roma that they are considered, with their own culture and traditions, a valued group in society.

Recommendations "5. Ensure equal access to quality education, countering the de facto and de jure segregation of ethnic minority and Roma children."

[1] See the report ”Børn med særlige behov, Fokus på specialområdet” (Children with special needs, Focus on the special classes area), Helsingør Kommune, Børne- og Ungeforvaltningen, June 2001.

[2] Such an assessment is always needed for the placement in a class for special education, but since Romi classes are not defined as such, there is no equivalent assessment.

[3] The regular special classes are of different types, for instance for dyslectics, observation classes, classes for children with learning difficulties, in which the measures are tailored to the individual requirements of the pupil.

[4] Reportedly, several Roma arrived in the 1950’s from other Nordic countries, in late-1960’s to early 1970’s, there were Roma arriving from Banat (in the Romanian/Serbian border areas) and Macedonia, and 1990’s there were Roma who fled Kosovo. 

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