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UN Special Rapporteur Urges Greece to Protect the Rights of Minors

3 April 2006

According to a 16 November 2005 article by the UN News Centre, Mr Juan Miguel Petit, the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography, warned that the Greek government must create a national policy to protect the rights of minors. At the conclusion of his six-day visit to Greece, Mr. Petit presented his preliminary findings in Athens on 15 November 2005, in which he concluded that 'the country still needs a comprehensive approach to child protection'. The independent expert noted that Greece has a continued obligation to protect minors and victims of trafficking.

The Special Rapporteur noted a decisive link between poverty and trafficking. During his visit, Mr. Petit was accompanied by the non-governmental organization Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) to Romani communities in Votanikos, in the centre of Athens, where the Special Rapporteur noted the critical situation of Romani children. He later voiced concerns about their situation, saying many live "in unacceptable conditions without adequate access to education and basic services". Mr Petit called upon the Greek Government to uphold its duty to "give Roma children alternatives other than street work or prostitution as survival strategies". A joint case study by GHM and Minority Rights Group – Greece (MRG-G), published in November 2005, confirms Mr. Petit's findings regarding Romani children being denied access to education. The case study documents, over the period of a year and a half, efforts to assist children in the Psari Roma community, in the Aspropyrgos municipality (near Athens), to register and attend school. The findings indicate that access to education for the Roma in Greece is often impossible due to reactions by racist non-Roma neighbors and reluctance on the part of local, regional and central state authorities to implement the legal framework ensuring positive state obligations.

The Special Rapporteur's visit to Greece immediately followed a visit to Albania, and Mr. Petit noted that the purpose of visiting the neighbouring countries consecutively was to gain a better understanding of the transnational dynamics of the issue. He emphasized that trafficking is a global issue that requires collaborative efforts and recommended the creation of a commission made up of Greek and Albanian authorities to resolve the case of some 500 children who disappeared from the Aghia Varvara children's institute, between 1998-2002. According to a GHM press release on the same day, to date, only 4 of the 500 missing Albanian street children, mostly Roma and Egyptian children who were taken by authorities to the Aghia Varvara children's institution, have been located in Albania.

(GHM, UN News Centre)

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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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