Germany Criticised at United Nations Childrens Rights Hearing over Expulsions of Roma

16 January 2003

Germany faced criticism today as it came under review by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child over policies of expelling Roma, particularly to Kosovo, Romania, and Serbia and Montenegro.

The review process - convened regularly to assess the compliance of states with the International Convention on the Rights of the Child - was challenged today over allegations brought by the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) that Germany has in recent years, by policy and practice, carried on a campaign of forcible expulsions of Roma from the country.

Speaking on the occasion of the review, Mr Rudko Kawczynski, a long-time Roma rights advocate in Germany, said, "Germany expels any Roma it can, whenever it can. In recent years, thousands of Roma have been forced out of Germany and expelled to south-eastern Europe. When Roma are at issue, the German government routinely disregards even basic human rights standards."

The ERRC noted that Germany has on a number of occasions even forcibly expelled Roma to Kosovo, despite serious concerns that persons considered "Gypsies" in Kosovo are persecuted in the province.

ERRC comments presented to the Committee also criticised a temporary protection mechanism provided to Romani third country nationals known as "duldung" - "tolerated". A "duldung" is not a residence permit -- it is merely a stop on expulsion, and it must be renewed at very frequent intervals, in some instances after only several weeks. The "duldung" status also frequently includes restrictions on freedom of movement, access to employment and various forms of social protection. Some Roma in Germany have had no administrative status in Germany other than a "duldung" for periods sometimes longer than ten years.

Commenting on German policy on individual establishment, ERRC Executive Director Dimitrina Petrova said, "The current system radically blocks integration. Our research indicates that in some instances, treatment Roma have endured before the German administration may rise to the level of cruel and degrading."

The ERRC urged the Committee to press the German government to urgently review and amend all laws, policies and practices related to individual establishment, integration and expulsion to ensure that they are fully in compliance with Germany's commitments under international human rights law.

The full text of ERRC submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of
the Child is available on the Internet at: Advocacy Submissions.


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