Ireland: Roma family cases must be investigated fully

The review announced by the Irish government today into the separation of two Roma children from their families must be full and frank, Amnesty International has said.

'It has been proven that a seven-year-old girl was wrongly removed from her family in Dublin on Monday. In the same week a second child was briefly separated from his family in Athlone.

'While child protection is a very serious issue, responses to reported concerns must be proportionate and non-discriminatory. There must now be a full and open investigation to find out if correct procedures were applied in both these cases.

'If it is found that the authorities’ actions were discriminatory, steps must be taken to ensure this is not repeated. There must be a public apology to the Roma families for the wrongdoing.

'The eyes of the world are now on Ireland, and the Government must show institutional discrimination will not be tolerated.'
Colm O’Gorman, Director of Amnesty International Ireland

Background information

Six million Roma live in the EU. Hundreds of thousands of Roma have been forced to live in informal settlements and camps, often without heating, water or sanitation; tens of thousands are forcibly evicted from their homes every year. They are often denied access to jobs and quality health care.

Across Europe, Roma are victims of racially motivated violence and are often left unprotected by the police and without access to justice. This is not a coincidence. It is the result of widespread discrimination and racism that Roma face throughout Europe.

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