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ERRC Urges Restraint and Responsible Reporting in Child Removal Cases

22 October 2013

Budapest, 22 October 2013: The ERRC is concerned by increasing reports of children being removed from Roma families, following reports about a child taken from her home in a Romani settlement in Greece. Another child has since been removed from her home in Ireland, according to media reports.

We ask the media to act responsibly in reporting the situation, especially as the full facts of the original case have still not been established.

The ERRC is aware of at least one report from Serbia where skinheads tried to take away a two-year old boy from his parents because he was "not as dark as his parents". Irresponsible reporting could have severe, negative consequences for Roma families across Europe.

If a crime has been committed in Greece, and this is still by no means clear, those who committed it should be treated as individuals, not as representatives of their ethnicity. Such a case could arise in any racial, ethnic, religious or national group. 

Criminality is not related to ethnicity. Roma children are, however, much more likely to be put into state care, trapped in segregated education, and forcibly evicted from their homes. These are the stories that don’t make it to the front page.

We urge restraint, and we urge all local authorities, media outlets and other stakeholders to fully examine the facts before acting.

For more information, contact:

Sinan Gökçen
Media and Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre
Tel. +36.30.500.1324
sinan.gokcen@errc.org

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The ERRC is a public interest law organisation that defends the human rights of Roma throughout Europe and serves as a legal resource centre for advocates working in this field since 1996. The ERRC pursues its objectives by engaging in legal representation, research, monitoring and reporting, human rights education and international advocacy. The ERRC operations are primarily funded by strictly regulated donations, requiring timely and detailed reporting and control.  

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