Children's Rights Committee Concerned at Expulsions of Romani Children

05 February 2003

The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) welcomes the Concluding Observations, published this week, of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, concerning matters related to Germany's record on child rights issues. The Committee expressed concern that Romani children may be forcefully expelled to countries from which their families have fled, and recommended that German authorities "take all necessary measures to review its legislation and policies regarding Roma children and other children belonging to ethnic minorities seeking asylum in the State party."

Speaking on the occasion of the release of the Committee's findings, Mr Boris Tsilevich, a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe involved in the investigation of the forcible expulsion of Roma from Germany to Serbia and Montenegro, said, "The Committee's conclusions are very important. Our work has caused us deep concern about Germany's respect for children's rights where Romani children are at issue."

In recent years, the German government has carried out high numbers of forcible expulsions of Roma to countries in Central and Southeastern Europe, notably Serbia and Montenegro and Romania. German authorities have expelled Romani children who have been born in Germany, have attended German schools for significant periods of time, and who have formed real and lasting ties to Germany. In the extreme case, German officials have expelled Roma and others regarded as "Gypsies" to Kosovo, despite serious concerns that such persons are under threat of persecution in the province.

Many of the Romani families currently being expelled from Germany have been in Germany for more than a decade, sheltered under a temporary protection mechanism called "tolerated" ("duldung"). The repeated provision of extremely short-term "duldung" status has effectively prevented tens of thousands of foreign Roma in Germany from integration in Germany.

ERRC Executive Director Dimitrina Petrova, commenting on the UN committee's findings, said, "We turn to the UN on Fortress Europe matters, because justice is for the most part out of reach for Romani migrants abused in Europe."

The Concluding Observations of the Committee on Germany's compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child are available HERE. Written comments on Roma rights issues in Germany submitted by the ERRC to the Committee can be accessed at: Advocacy Submissions.


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