On the occasion of the 48th Session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of May 2011, the Anti-Discrimination Center (ADC) “Memorial” presents an update to its 2009 report “Discrimination and Violation of Roma Children’s Rights In Schools of the Russian Federation”. The update, prepared with the support of the International Federation for Human rights (FIDH), covers the period from 2009 to December 2010.
No comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation was drafted nor were any acts on the implementation of measures to improve education for groups that are subjected to discrimination. Even the new bill “On Education in the Russian Federation”, that was submitted for public discussion, does not provide any specific rules prohibiting discriminatory practices. Replacing the term “citizen” with the term “student” (and therefore formally eliminating the requirement to provide proof of citizenship when enrolling a child in school) will probably not lead to a change in the schools’ current practice. They demand personal documents for both parents and children, and permanent and temporary registration documents, since there is still no formal ban on refusing applications from children without such documents, and since the educational institutions are free to decide which documents are required for enrolling in school.
By virtue of this regulation, access to education is denied to vulnerable groups, including Roma from the compact settlements all over the Russian Federation, who are born Russian citizens, but are forced to go to court to prove their residence and citizenship or to acquire the citizenship again (since they or their parents have no documents). In 2010, Anti-Discrimination Centre (“ADC”) Memorial received numerous appeals from Roma whose children were not admitted to schools because they lacked the required documents.