UNICEF Romania Statement on the Repatriation of Roma families from France to Romania
UNICEF calls for the principles and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to be fully observed in this atypical repatriation process and for the best interests of the child to be taken into account at all times by all parties involved.
UNICEF Romania is in contact with the relevant central and local authorities and with Roma NGO partners on the situation of the repatriated Roma girls and boys will continue to monitor the reintegration process.
Particular attention will be paid to alerting the relevant authorities to the risks of any separation of children from their parents and to promoting awareness of this issue.
UNICEF is concerned that the rights of Roma girls and boys may be affected within the repatriation process. This includes but is not limited to: the access of Roma children to basic services both in France and Romania, risk of separation of children from their parents and collection of bio-metric data on ethnic or racial grounds.
The child protection services in both France and Romania should be actively involved in ensuring that the rights of the Roma girls and boys involved in the repatriation process are observed as stipulated under the national, international and EU regulations and legislation.
The relevant governmental authorities are urged to report on the implementation of the child protection measures included in any official agreements.
The authorities ahould also take into account the various EU reports on the vulnerabilities of the Roma population, the committments of all EU Member States within the recent EU Summit on Roma (Cordoba 2010) and to discourage any feelings of hostility and racism which could emerge out of this repatriation process.
Meanwhile, UNICEF reiterates its availability to support the governmental and non-governmental partners in Romania in addressing the underlying causes of social exclusion and economic migration of Roma families and children. This is also in line with the strategic intent of UNICEF’s country programme of cooperation with Romania for the period 2010-2012.