Statement by Elizabeth Sándor-Szalay Deputy Commissioner For Fundamental Rights, Ombudsman for the Rights of National Minorities, concerning the implementation of compensation for the school segregation in Gyöngyöspata

As the Minority Ombudsman, I have been following the issue of the school segregation of Roma children in Gyöngyöspata in the recent years. In 2011, the Commissioner for National and Ethnic Minority Rights uncovered the unlawful segregation of Roma students at the Gyöngyöspata school, and this investigation was also heavily relied upon in subsequent court decisions. The findings and initiatives of the study also contributed to the successful implementation of desegregation processes initiated locally and in other communities facing similar problems.

My point of view is consistent with the experience of several decades of ombudsman practice: the integrated education of children of different backgrounds and social statuses, both individually and socially, is the only method of education that leads to real and lasting results.
In recent days, I have followed with concern the events in Gyöngyöspata, the intensified debates over compensation for educational segregation, and the growing social tension. I am convinced that this situation may inadvertently reinforce the anti-Roma stereotypes in the majority society and also contribute to the intensification of the anger.

 

For these reasons, I consider it my duty to closely monitor and investigate in detail the events in Gyöngyöspata. In addition to the current situation, I also consider it important to review the follow-up to the Gyöngyöspata report issued in connection with the previous Ombudsman's inquiry and the implementation of the decisions made in the report. Following the exploration of the facts, I intend to present my position on the matter in the near future, with particular reference to the full implementation of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Fundamental Law, the Act on Nationalities and the Act on Equal Treatment and Promotion of Equal Opportunities.