ECSR conclusions on Estonia under Articles 16, 17 RESC (excerpts on Roma), 2020

Article 16 – Right of the family to social, legal and economic protection

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Measures in favour of vulnerable families

In reply to the Committee question, the report provides information about the families with disabled children. As regards Roma families, the Committee also notes that according to data from the population census of 2011, there were 456 people of Roma origin living in Estonia. According to the report, as the Roma community is rather small is Estonia, no separate measures have been created for the Roma. Equal opportunities and social protection are guaranteed for the Roma living in Estonia on the same basis as for other residents of Estonia. The Committee asks what measures are taken to protect single-parent families.

Housing for families

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In its previous conclusions (Conclusions 2011, 2015), the Committee asked information on measures taken to improve the housing situation of Roma families. It also held that if the next report did not provide the necessary information, there would be nothing to show that the situation is in conformity with Article 16 of the Charter on this ground (Conclusions 2015).

In reply, the report stresses that according to the latest population census (2011), there were 456 people of Roma origin living in Estonia. As the Roma community is rather small, no separate measures have been created for Roma. The report indicates that equal opportunities and social protection are guaranteed for the Roma living in Estonia on the same basis as for other residents.

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Article 17 – Right of children and young persons to social, legal and economic protection

Paragraph 1 – Assistance, education and training

The Committee takes note of the information contained in the report submitted by Estonia.

The legal status of the child

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The Committee further asks what measures have been taken to facilitate birth registration, particularly for vulnerable groups, such as Roma, asylum seekers and children in an irregular situation.

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Child poverty

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The Committee asks the next report to provide information on the rates of child poverty as well as on measures adopted to reduce child poverty, including non-monetary measures such as ensuring access to quality and affordable services in the areas of health, education, housing etc. Information should also be provided on measures focused on combatting discrimination against and promoting equal opportunities for, children from particularly vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities, Roma children, children with disabilities, and children in care.

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Paragraph 2 – Free primary and secondary education – regular attendance at school

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Vulnerable groups

In its previous conclusion (Conclusions 2015) the Committee sought further information about the situation of Roma children, in particular any measures adopted following the study ’Roma in the Estonian Education System – issues and solutions’, and information on the placement of Roma children in special needs schools. The Committee noted that in 2014/2016 a project to improve the quality of counselling for Roma students was to be launched and asked to be informed of the results of this project.

According to the report, children of Roma origin study in either Estonian-language or in rarer cases, also in Russian-language schools. There are no separate schools or classes in Estonia which are only attended by Roma children. Roma children study in the context of the common national curricula and are not separated from other students.

The report refers to the results of a survey, sponsored by the Population Register and the Ministry of Education and Research and supported by the North Estonian Roma Association, which show that as of 2010, there were 90 children in Estonia of compulsory school age whose parent or parents were of Roma origin. The report also states that according to the data provided by the Estonian Education Information System in November 2017, 55 pupils in general education schools have identified Roma as their home language.

According to the report in Estonia, the transfer of children to specialized schools takes place on the basis of need and can only take place with the consent of the parent or legal guardian and on the basis of a medical evaluation. The placement of Roma children in schools for children with special educational needs or directing them to study on the basis of a simplified curriculum in a basic school, is based on the same grounds as for other children.

The Committee asks how many children of Roma origin attend special schools and how many follow a simplified curriculum in regular schools.

The report states that in order to support Roma children and Roma students, the Ministry of Education and Research has planned various measures, such as relevant in-service training courses for members of advisory committees and counselling centres.

The Committee asks to be kept informed of measures taken to improve educational outcomes for Roma children including information on enrolment, drop out and completion rates.


Document data: Conclusions XXI-4 (2019), March 2020. Link: https://rm.coe.int/rapport-est-en/16809cfba8

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