RISC: Stop Discrimination of Roma in State Care

Budapest, 20 November 2017: Today on Universal Children’s Day, the European Roma Rights Centre is launching our RISC (Roma in State Care) campaign. Romani children are significantly overrepresented in state care in various countries across Europe. We have taken many cases, mainly in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia and Albania, where Romani children make up more than 80% of all children in state care. We know this is happening in other countries and we want to make sure that the extent of this problem is revealed in any, and every European country that illegally discriminates against Romani families in their care system.

We have found the special attention paid to Roma to be a result of systemic racism, often at all levels of the care system and judiciary, meaning Romani children are often unfairly taken away from their parents.

We want Roma, and Roma Rights Defenders, to challenge institutional racism and help us stop Romani children from being illegally placed in care because of discrimination. We have created an online resource centre for activists and legal practitioners to use to fight against discrimination in placing Romani children in State Care.

Poverty is not an excuse to take away children from their parents. It is also illegal, and states have an obligation to provide social housing for the whole family, not just take away their kids. It seems that when being poor intersects with being Romani, many people think that removing the child from their family is excusable. We think this is plainly wrong, illegal as well as being morally reprehensible.

We worked with Romani children to create a short campaign video to explain how this discrimination works, and why it is illegal in very simple terms that anyone can understand. We are working on other language versions as fast as we can!

Keep an eye on the online resource centre, where we will be releasing new research on the overrepresentation of Roma in state care soon. Our hope is that we can provide the tools necessary for Roma to fight back against institutional racism using the power of the law. The resource centre will provide a legal toolkit which can be used to take cases against authorities and institutions who discriminate against Romani families.

For more information, or to arrange an interview contact:

Jonathan Lee
Communications Coordinator
European Roma Rights Centre
jonathan.lee@errc.org
+36305002118

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