Children’s Rights for Roma children
UNICEF study on the situation of Roma Children in South East Europe and Council of Europe/European Commission’s “Dosta!” campaign
BELGRADE, 16 May 2007 – There are an estimated 3.7 million Roma living in South-East Europe, about 1.7 million of them (46 per cent) are children. UNICEF study Breaking the Cycle of Exclusion: Roma Children in South East Europe focuses especially on Roma children and covers eight states/entities in South East Europe: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, UN Adminsitered Province of Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia.
While the majority of populations are declining in the countries surveyed, the Roma populations are rapidly increasing. In Bulgaria, FYR Macedonia, Romania and Serbia the percentage of the population below the age of 19 is between 29 and 22 per cent for the average population while it is 41 to 47 per cent for Roma. Roma children in these countries are among the poorest and most excluded members of society. They lack access to adequate housing, health care, education and social services. A significant number are not registered at birth. Wide-spread discrimination and physical segregation keep Roma on the margins of society and help perpetuate the cycle of poverty and exclusion from one generation to the next.
"Exclusion deprives children of their childhood and hinders them from fully developing their capacities to contribute in a substantial way to the economic and social development of their country" - UNICEF Area representative Ann-Lis Svensson
"Exclusion deprives children of their childhood and hinders them from fully developing their capacities to contribute in a substantial way to the economic and social development of their country," said UNICEF Area representative Ann-Lis Svensson.
According to the UNICEF study, predominantly children suffer from poverty, discrimination and a lack of prospects for the future.
When children reach school age they stand at a crossroad: they might go into permanent poverty and exclusion, or with the right support, they might still have another chance to break through the barriers and come out of the inter-generational cycle of exclusion. It is urgent to get it right. Childhood is an opportunity that does not come back!
Breaking the cycle of exclusion also means fighting against the stereotypes and prejudices towards Roma that lead to discrimination. Fighting against discrimination towards Roma is the main purpose of the awareness raising campaign “Dosta! Go beyond prejudice, discover the Roma”. Initiated by the Council of Europe and the European Commission, the campaign focuses on breaking down deep-rooted prejudices and stereotypes towards Roma. The Dosta! campaign is built around two main axes, one is the recognition of Roma as fully fledged citizens of European countries, while the second one focuses on the recognition of the contribution of the Roma culture to Roma cultural heritage (more information: www.dosta.org).
UNICEF Serbia Office: Ms. Jadranka Milanovic, Communication Officer
Council of Europe Office in Belgrade: Ms. Sophie Kammerer,
Roma in CEE/CIS
"Dosta! Go beyond prejudice, discover the Roma” campaign
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