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17th October, 2018

Segregated Roma win lawsuit vs state

The state must pay compensation to Roma children who were taught in separate classes for years at the Nekcsei Demeter Primary School in Gyöngyöspata, Eger Court ruled on Tuesday after years of litigation. The state was sued by 62 children and the court ruled partially or fully in favour of 60 of those.

The lawyer of the foundation representing the pupils said the main issue of the lawsuit had been “whether segregation has a price in today’s Hungary”. In the past courts have awarded compensation to individual pupils in segregation lawsuits: this case is important because they have sued the state en masse for the first time, he noted.

The foundation had demanded Ft 500,000 per child for every six months spent in segregation, meaning that the state was sued for Ft 143 million overall.

The court approved compensation totalling Ft 89 million. The sums awarded included some hundreds of thousands of forints and one payment of one million forints.

The Kúria judged in March 2015 that the Roma pupils of the primary school had been segregated unlawfully from non-Roma pupils, and had consequently received a lower quality education.

The lawsuit was launched by the Chance for Disadvantaged Children Foundation in a bid to gain compensation for the children from the school, the local council and Klebelsberg Kuno Centre. The ruling is open to appeal.

Sources regularly consulted, with abbreviations used in text: Népszabadság (N); Magyar Hírlap (MH); Világgazdaság (VG); Napi Gazdaság (NG); Magyar Nemzet (MN); Népszava (Nsz); Kossuth Rádió news (KR); nightly TV news (TV).

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