Discrimination on the Grounds of Ethnicity

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Hungary upholds Romani women’s right to equality in health institutions

In February 2016, a Romani woman gave birth a public hospital in Miskolc, north-eastern Hungary. During labour she cried out with pain and the midwife yelled at her “if you shout once more I will push the pillow into your face”. When the woman apologised, the doctor said to her “if you had shouted once more I would have called the psychiatrist to take away child away and then you wouldn’t receive Child Benefit, because anyway, you gypsies give birth only for the money!”

The Committee analyzed three issues regarding the right of Roma to housing in Portugal: the “precarious and difficult housing conditions for a large part of the Roma community”; “the high number of Roma families that live in segregated settings”; and “the inadequacy of re-housing programmes for the Roma community in terms of their family composition, cultural habits and ways of life”.

This ECSR decision stemmed from a collective complaint lodged by the International Center for the Protection of Human Rights (INTERIGHTS), members of ESCR-Net, alleging that the Greek Government violated the right to housing of the Roma in Greece as protected under Article 16 of the ESC in conjunction with the Preamble of said Charter that guaranteed their equal access to social rights as a means to protect against their social exclusion.

This class action consolidated a number of cases brought on behalf of black schoolchildren denied admission to segregated public schools, under state law. Public facilities were previously racially segregated in the United States, particularly in the South. The case sought to challenge the "separate but equal" doctrine set forth in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), that governed racial segregation at the time.

The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court unanimously decided to uphold the constitutionality of racial quotas in University admission processes, in order to create a diverse academic environment, to overcome a history of racial discrimination in Brazil, and to promote the principle of de facto equality as applied to racial discrimination in education.  In addition, the Court addressed issues of proportionality and reasonability as criteria to assess the constitutionality of policies aimed at achieving racial equality.

Upon going into labor, Ms. A.S., a member of the Roma community, needed an emergency Caesarian section. Immediately before the surgery, a doctor asked Ms. A.S. to sign consent forms on which the doctor had hand-written a statement that Ms. A.S. consented to a sterilization procedure. Ms. A.S. did not understand the statement or that she had been sterilized until after the operation took place. Her claim of civil rights violations and negligent sterilization was rejected at the local level. In her communication to the CEDAW Committee, it found that the Ms. A.S.