Roma children – European governments are failing these ‘forgotten’ youngsters

Image: Council of Europe

A new report sets out how the rights of ‘Roma’ children in Europe should be enshrined not only in EU law but as part of youngsters’ globally-held legislative protections.

Roma children and adolescents are part of a traditionally nomadic community of people often originating from eastern Europe, and the UN children’s charity UNICEF says that despite the improvements made over the past 20 years, governments have been slow to ensure that Roma children living in Europe still do not have the rights they are entitled to.

This, says the charity, is a violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a set of established guidelines that cover all aspects of every child’s life and set out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

‘Slow, sporadic and insufficient’

Progress in this key area for Roma children, who are among some of the most discriminated-against groups in the world, has been ‘slow, sporadic and insufficient’, says UNICEF.

“Successful efforts to improve Roma children’s access to health and education services have not been widely adopted, and governments have been slow to address the structural and systemic barriers that prevent Roma children from realising their rights,” it adds.

It has published a new report, Europe’s Forgotten Children: Roma children and their families in Europe 2000 -2020 – a  child rights perspective, which sets out the gaps in health, education, protection and welfare indicators that still exist between Roma and non-Roma children across Europe.

“Ultimately, the report recommends that social protection programmes for Roma children need to be based on the principals in the Convention on the Rights of the Child rather than boundaries of European law – this would mean that governments would need to meet higher targets when it comes to meeting the social protection needs of Roma children,” adds UNICEF.

Click here for download links to the report.

Author: Simon Weedy

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