Roma Children’s Rights in Ireland- Fact or Fiction?

Serious concerns about Roma children’s rights were raised at a conference held today by Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre. The conference highlighted systematic failures on the part of the state to protect vulnerable Roma children.

‘It’s time to stop being complicit in discrimination and stand up for Roma children, we need to ensure better futures for all children – not just some. Promotion of equality and inclusiveness should be core values of educational policies’  Iulius Rostas, Visiting Lecturer at the Corvinus University in Budapest.

The conference highlighted serious child welfare issues facing Roma children in Ireland including child poverty and a lack of access to medical care, resulting in grave child protection issues. Poverty was identified as the key factor stopping children participating in school.

‘It is a daily struggle to put your child through school with no child benefit, no medical card and no support.  Our children are missing out on the opportunity to be who they can be – to reach their full potential.’ Gabi Muntean, Roma Project, Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre. Ms Muntean went on to say ‘Ireland is our home now and the state needs to include us.’ 

She called on the Department of Justice and Equality to develop a progressive National Traveller Roma Integration Strategy.  Ireland’s current strategy has been heavily criticised by the European Commission, only meeting 4 out of 22 criteria.

The conference was launched by Minster for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald T.D, and featured a key note speech from Jacqueline Bhabha, FXB Director of Research, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health and included panels chaired by Emily Logan, Ombudsman for Children,Audrey Carville, RTE journalist and broadcaster and Des Hogan acting CEO of the Irish Human Rights Commission.  

-ENDS- 

For more information:

Hilary Harmon,  Coordinator, Education Advocacy Initiative

Tel: 01 878 0255 (EXT: 111) or 087 6607549

Email: hilary.harmon@pavee.ie

or

Siobhan Curran, Community Development  Worker Roma Project

Tel: 01 878 0255 (EXT: 104) or 087 2441283

Email: siobhan.curran@pavee.ie