Saturday

21st Jul 2018

Opinion

Mums and dads of Roma children deprived parent rights

  • In parts of Hungary 80 percent of the children separated from their parents come from Roma families - although Roma people represent only 20 percent of the population (Photo: Julie70)

It often comes as a shock for most Europeans when we hear about atrocious human rights violations in the world ranging from the imprisonment of women who have had a miscarriage in El Salvador, to the persecution of entire ethnic groups - such as the Rohingyas in Myanmar.

We like to think of ourselves, Europeans, as people showing an example to the rest of the world when it comes to human rights, equality and non-discrimination.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

However, we seem rather willing to accept the apartheid-like situation of our Roma citizens and their systemic - even if sometimes unintentional - neglect and discrimination by our very own politicians and duty-bearers.

It is rather shocking really to see how far our decision-makers and duty bearers can go without being held accountable for their open discrimination and violation of basic human rights.

One of the latest, yet decades-old, Europe-wide, known and blatant example is the removal of Roma children from their parents on the basis of the families' social status and poverty, and due to prejudice towards the Roma.

This practice, which has been reported in several EU member states, is in clear violation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the Race Equality Directive, and the founding values of our European Union, yet somehow the placement of Roma children in child protection institutions is portrayed as a 'socially justifiable' measure of states acting 'in the best interest of the child'.

The fate of children in these institutions is also well-known.

A recent BBC film by Stacey Dooley shows how often children in child protection institutions in Hungary end up being victims of sexual violence, prostitution, drug abuse and so on, and this unacceptable practice still goes on.

Hungary is one of those countries, which is well known for state separation of Roma children from their families.

The European Roma Rights Center has been researching the proportion of Roma children in child protection services for decades.

According to their latest findings, in Nograd county of Hungary, 80 percent of the children separated from their parents come from Roma families, although Roma people represent only 20 percent of the population in the county.

That is why the European Roma Rights Center has recently filed a lawsuit against the ministry of human resources of Hungary.

As members of the European Parliament, we are very concerned about this and we want to stop Roma children from being illegally placed in care because of discrimination.

New infringement procedure?

We are asking the European Commission to start an infringement procedure against Hungary, to monitor the situation in all the member states and to prepare a report on the issue.

It is also high time that we, Europeans, stopped turning a blind eye to such horrific acts and asked ourselves how we would survive if our children were taken away from us just because we are poor and are considered to be unfit to take care of our own children.

We do not demand anything more, but also nothing less, for the Roma people than we demand for the majority society.

We want Roma children to be able to enjoy their fundamental rights in the EU and to fulfil their potential, just like any other children.

Soraya Post MEP is a S&D group member from Sweden, Peter Niedermueller MEP, is a S&D group member from Hungary

Focus

MEPs attack Facebook over anti-gypsy hate groups

Socialist deputies in the European Parliament have condemned Facebook, the popular social networking service, for hosting anti-gypsy groups, bearing such names as "Useful work for gypsies: testers of gas chambers," on its site.

Italy must face legal action for anti-Gypsy measures, says Soros

Billionaire philanthropist and financier George Soros has said at a top-level EU conference on the problems facing Roma people in Europe that he supports legal action against Italy over recent anti-Gypsy measures, particularly the fingerprinting of adults and children.

Poland, Hungary push back at EU budget 'conditionality'

EU affairs ministers held their first discussion on the Commission's long-term post-Brexit budget plans - with cohesion and agriculture cuts, phasing put rebates, and the overall size emerging as major divisions.

EU must create safe, legal pathways to Europe

As the rapporteur for the European Parliament on an EU regulation on resettlement, my colleagues and I have outlined an effective plan based on solidarity and humanitarian principles.

How the World Cup exposed Russian chauvinism

The suggestion that Russians themselves play a role in the condition of their state today is often dismissed as "xenophobic" or "Russophobic". But if not addressed, the evils of nationalism, chauvinism, and imperialism will continue even after Putin is gone.

How the World Cup exposed Russian chauvinism

The suggestion that Russians themselves play a role in the condition of their state today is often dismissed as "xenophobic" or "Russophobic". But if not addressed, the evils of nationalism, chauvinism, and imperialism will continue even after Putin is gone.

News in Brief

  1. Libyan PM rejects EU migrant camps idea
  2. Italy's Salvini to sue critical anti-mafia writer
  3. EU countries send aircraft to Sweden to help with wildfires
  4. British ex-commissioner's jobs called into question
  5. May to tell EU to drop Irish border 'backstop' idea
  6. Trump threatens EU over Google fine
  7. Spain withdraws arrest warrant for Catalan separatists
  8. EU readies counter-measures on possible US car tariffs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  2. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  4. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  5. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  7. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  8. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  10. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  12. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us