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Controversial Proposal Regarding Romani Education by the EU Commission's Ambassador to Slovakia

29 July 2004

According to a press release of the Brussels-based European Roma Information Office (ERIO) dated May 13, 2004, in a May 1, 2004 in-terview with a Dutch television sta-tion, Mr Eric Van der Linden, the EU Commission's Ambassador to Slovakia, proposed taking Romani children away from their parents and placing them in boarding schools to ensure they are educated. Mr Van der Linden was quoted as having stated, "I think in the root of the cause we need to strengthen education and organise the educational system in a way that we may have to start to, I'll say it in quotation marks, "force" Romani children to stay in a kind of boarding school from Monday morning until Friday afternoon, where they will continuously be subjected to a system of values which are dominant in our society." Mr Van der Linden also reportedly suggested financial in-centives to reduce resistance by Roma to his proposal.

Mr Van der Linden's comments sparked controversy and debate amongst Romani organisations throughout Europe. While many organisations come out opposed to the idea, some, such as the informal Slovak Romani Parliament, support the idea as a possible measure to improve access to edu-cation of Romani children. ERIO initiated an online petition, calling for the resignation of Mr Van der Linden. However, according to the BBC of May 14, 2004, a spokes-person for the European Commission stated that the "unfortunate choice of words" by Mr. Van der Linden was regretful, but indicated that he would not be removed from office. In June 2004, ERIO sent a letter to Mr Romano Prodi, the president of the European Commission, expressing concern at the reaction of the Commission and again calling for Mr Van der Linden's removal, stating that his comments contradict the promotion and respect for Roma rights. 

(ERIO, ERRC)

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ERRC submission to UN HRC on Hungary (February 2018)

14 February 2018

Written Comments of the European Roma Rights Centre concerning Hungary to the UN Human Rights Committee for consideration at its 122nd session (12 Narch - 6 April 2018).

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The Fragility of Professional Competence: A Preliminary Account of Child Protection Practice with Romani and Traveller Children in England

24 January 2018

Romani and Traveller children in England are much more likely to be taken into state care than the majority population, and the numbers are rising. Between 2009 and 2016 the number of Irish Travellers in care has risen by 400% and the number of Romani children has risen 933%. The increases are not consistent with national trends, and when compared to population data, suggest that Romani and Traveller children living in the UK could be 3 times more likely be taken into public care than any other child. 

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Families Divided: Romani and Egyptian Children in Albanian Institutions

21 November 2017

There’s a high percentage of Romani and Egyptian children in children’s homes in Albania – a disproportionate number. These children are often put into institutions because of poverty, and then find it impossible ever to return to their families. Because of centuries of discrimination Roma and Egyptians in Albania are less likely to live in adequate housing, less likely to be employed and more likely to feel the effects of extreme poverty.

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