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Domestic Cases: Identity Documents

7 March 2016


Renewal of ID cards

On 10 November 2015 the European Roma Rights Centre together with the Equal Opportunities Initiative Association (EOIA), a Bulgarian NGO, submitted a discrimination complaint before the Bulgarian Commissioner for Protection Against Discrimination. Under Bulgarian law, a Bulgarian national can register a permanent address in the country only after submitting one of the following documents: a document for ownership of property for living, a rental agreement, an agreement for living in a specialised institution, or a similar ownership document as specifically requested by the municipal authorities. But, due to their history of social and economic exclusion, a substantial proportion of the Roma in Bulgaria live in ethnically segregated neighborhoods, at addresses that do not exist in the city plans; or they do not otherwise possess documents for property ownership we consider that the Article disproportionally affects the members of the Roma community, and therefore amounts to indirect discrimination.  The consequences are dire: without a permanent registered address, Roma cannot secure ID documents and are excluded from a host of services, depriving them of access to many fundamental rights.


Naturalisation (Turin)

There are significant numbers of Roma who are stateless or at risk of statelessness in Italy. One of the challenges in correcting this situation is the application of Italy’s naturalisation law to those who have been born and lived in Italy all their lives. The ERRC is supporting a test case challenging the unfair application of Italy’s naturalisation laws and its discriminatory impact on Roma.


Birth Registration

With support from the European Network on Statelessness, the ERRC and the Serbian NGO Praxis have lodged a constitutional “initiative” with the Constitutional Court in Serbia attacking a provision of legislation which allows registrars to delay birth registration. Many Roma in Serbia, following years of exclusion, discrimination, and, especially in the 1990s, forced movement, do not have identity documents. When they give birth in Serbia, the registrars refuse to register the birth. The provision we are attacking gives them legal cover: it vaguely allows registrars to delay birth registration for an indefinite period to verify the details to be entered in the register of births. We think this is contrary to the human right of every child to be registered immediately after birth and to have a name and a legal personality. We submitted our initiative on 7 March 2016. You can find an English version of it here.

On 12 September 2016 the Constitutional Court rejected the petition, essentially reasoning that there was no problem with the legislation in the abstract. An English translation of the judgment we prepared can be found here.


Paralegal project

The ERRC has a longstanding paralegal project working with Roma to secure identity documents. The ERRC is supporting the paralegals and a local lawyer to litigate some of the trickier cases, with a view to exposing and eliminating obstacles that leave Roma without documents and, in some cases, vulnerable to statelessness.

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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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