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ERRC calls on Macedonian Authorities to Stop Blocking its Citizens from Leaving the Country

23 September 2014

Budapest, Skopje, 24 September 2014: The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) sent an open letter today to national and international authorities to express its concern about the continuing efforts of the Macedonian government to prevent its citizens, including those of Roma origin, from leaving the country if they have been deported from other countries or are suspected of planning to claim asylum in the EU. 

The ERRC underlined that these practices violate the recent Constitutional Court ruling on 25 June 2014 which declared restrictions on the right to leave one’s own country unconstitutional.   

Despite this ruling, the ERRC has documented cases where the Ministry of the Interior has continued to issue decisions to confiscate passports, in violation of the Court’s ruling. Furthermore, the ERRC has documented new illegal restrictions: prohibiting citizens who have previously been deported from leaving the country using their biometric identity card as a travel document to enter neighbouring countries (notably Serbia). This practice is not lawful because it is not based on any court order, as required by law.  

If the Macedonian authorities are worried that Macedonian citizens (particularly Roma) will travel to other countries to seek asylum or live and work without permission, they should seek to address the root causes that motivate people to leave: poverty, social exclusion, and violations of their fundamental rights. Claiming asylum is a right (regardless of whether the claim is ultimately accepted), and a significant number of asylum seekers from Macedonia is a symptom of a problem that cannot be solved by preventing people from exercising that right.  

The ERRC called on the relevant authorities, in particular the Ministry of Interior, to implement the ruling of the Constitutional Court fully as well as to return passports to all those who have been affected by the government’s unconstitutional actions.

This press release is also available in Macedonian.

The ERRC open letter is available in English and Macedonian

For more information, contact:

Sinan Gökçen
Media and Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre 
Tel. +36.30.500.1324 

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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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