Grave Violations of Romani Children's Rights in Germany
07 February 2004
On October 29, 2003, the Köln-based Romani organisation Rom e.V. reported that Köln police have forced Romani refugee children taken into custody on suspicion of pick-pocketing to undress, though the majority of them were female below the age of 14. According to Rom e.V., officers have taken photographs of the naked children and their undergarments to document "dirt, feces, urine and vaginal outflow." Officers reportedly have performed ID checks on the children and young girls have been forced to lower their slips to their knees to enable officers to photograph the inner side of their slips from above. According to Mr Andreas Stage, a German lawyer, officers have also performed x-ray examinations on detained Romani children, without first obtaining the requisite court order. Rom e.V. stated that officers have questioned the Romani children without informing their parents and without permitting the children legal council or informing them they have the right to refuse to give evidence. The evidence was reportedly gathered to prove that the children's parents were breaching their duties towards their children with the aim of removing the children from their care. The ERRC presented materials related to the incidents to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, which reviews Germany's compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, in January 2004.
(EUMap, Rom e.V.)