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Dželadin v Macedonia and Two Other Cases (third-party intervention, pending)

6 February 2018

Facts

The Court is considering three cases together. All of the cases were brought by Romani people who are Macedonian citizens who were stopped by border guards from leaving the country to travel abroad. Two of the cases involve people stopped from leaving the country at the land border with Serbia and one involved someone stopped from boarding a plane at the airport. The applicants submitted material from various sources showing that Roma were being prevented from leaving the country.

The ERRC’s Third-Party Intervention

The ERRC set out the extensive evidence that Macedonian border guards have been racially profiling Macedonian citizens of Roma ethnic origin and stopping many of them from leaving the country. That evidence includes: the ERRC’s own non-exhaustive data collection based on interviews with people affected, covering 422 Roma stopped from leaving the country; a situation-testing exercise the ERRC carried out in December 2013 and which led to litigation that is still ongoing; an admission by the Interior Minister in late 2016 that the practice had been taking place; a power-point presentation delivered by a Ministry of Interior official to international colleagues in Strasbourg in 2014 describing the “profile” of the typical returned failed asylum seeker (including that such a person is most likely to be Romani) and saying that people who fit this profile are stopped at the border when trying to leave the country; documents from the European Union identifying most asylum seekers from Macedonia as Roma and urging the Macedonian government to take action, which the ERRC believes amounts to a clear indication to engage in racial profiling; and conclusions from Council of Europe bodies, UN bodies, and the national Ombudsman identifying and condemning the practice. The ERRC gave an overview of cases that the organisation has supported in the domestic courts on the issue, showing inconsistencies and misunderstandings by domestic judges. The domestic cases have taken divergent approaches, with some courts finding no violations, some finding violations only of the constitutional right to leave the country, and some finding discrimination in the individual case but without identifying a larger pattern. The ERRC went on to say that the time had come for the Court to use the term “antigypsyism” in its case law. The ERRC set out widely accepted definitions of the terms “antigypsyism” and “institutional racism” and urged the Court to use the term “institutional antigypsyism” to describe the practice of racial profiling of Roma at the border in Macedonia. The ERRC identified three consequences of the existence of institutional antigypsyism for the Court’s consideration of these complaints: the burden of proof was on the Respondent Government to show that there was no discriminatory practice (see E.B. v France (Grand Chamber, 2008), § 74); the Court was not required to examine the individual cases of applicants who suffered the same discriminatory practice (D.H. and others v the Czech Republic (Grand Chamber, 2007), § 209); and it was appropriate for the Court to make an indication of the general measures that must be taken to put an end to the institutional antigypsyism that gave rise to this practice, including clear, written directives to border police, training, and measures for data collection.

The Court’s statement of facts can be found here.

The ERRC’s third-party intervention can be found here.

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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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