MINELRES: ERRC: UN Childrens Rights Committee on Roma

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Thu Feb 9 18:48:01 2006

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

European Roma Rights Centre Urges Hungarian Government to Act on Key 
Concerns Identified by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the

Budapest, 3 February 2006. The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) today 
welcomed the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Rights
of the Child on Hungary's compliance with the International Convention
on the Rights of the Child, one of the central instruments of
international human rights law.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child convened in January to
review Hungary's second periodic report on measures to implement the

The Committee praised progress achieved by Hungary, citing for example
numerous amendments to the Child Protection Act; the adoption of the Act
on Equal Treatment and the Promotion of Equal Opportunities in 2003,
prohibiting both direct and indirect discrimination; independent
monitoring by the Parliamentary Commissioners for Civil Rights and
Ethnic and National Minorities, in particular the consideration given to
child rights issues and cases; the prohibition of corporal punishment in
the home by amendment of the Act on the Protection of Children in 2004;
and the expanded programmes for the social inclusion of Romani children.

The Committee was however concerned about the situation of Romani
children, and brought recommendations in a number of areas. With respect
to issues on which the European Roma Rights Centre submitted
documentation, the 
Committee took the following positions:

"[T]he Committee is concerned that discriminatory and xenophobic
attitudes, in particular towards the Roma population, remain prevalent
and that especially Roma children suffer from stigmatisation, exclusion
and socio-economic disparities, notably related to housing,
unemployment, access to health services, adoption and educational
facilities because of their ethnic status."

On this basis, the Committee recommended that the government of Hungary:

- Initiates campaigns to change widespread discriminatory behaviour of
excluding members of the Roma community from services that have to be
accessible to all citizens regardless of their ethnicity or any other
- Strengthen and expand programmes that assist disadvantaged children
whose development was impeded by poor socio-economic conditions during
young childhood;
- Systematically abolish all institutional settings which segregate
children based on discriminatory grounds;
- and expeditiously terminate the practice of withdrawing public
responsibility for the education of certain children by assigning them
"private" student status.

The Committee further recommended that the Hungarian government continue
to take measures towards social integration of minority children and
that it combat marginalization and stigmatization of Roma children.

Furthermore, the Committee stated that additional measures are needed to
ensure the full enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the Convention by
Roma children, in particular as to their access to education and
adequate standard of living.

The Committee expressed concerns about the considerable
overrepresentation of Romani children among children in child care
institutions and held that not enough efforts are made to return
children to their families as soon as possible. The Committee is also
concerned by reports on the extremely low quality of many institutions
and by the fact that children previously in state care subsequently are
overrepresented among the homeless. The Committee therefore urged that
institutionalisation be used only as a measure of last resort, taking
into account the best interests of the child. In this regard the State
party should provide maximum support possible for the work of child
representatives and child protection officers with a view to prevent and
reduce placements in institutions. The Committee moreover recommended
that the State Party undertake further preventive efforts to address
root causes of poverty and to avoid that poor socio-economic conditions
result in the separation of children from their parents.

As regards adoption, the Committee expressed concerns over the high
number of Romani children who are in institutions, while some of them
might benefit from adoption and recommended that the central regulating
authority be provided with sufficient financial and human resources in
order to comply with its mandate. The Committee suggested that
particular attention should be paid to the right of all children to know
their origins. The Committee urged Hungary to identify those children
who could benefit from adoption and initiate the adoption process,
taking into consideration the cultural background of these children in
accordance with article 20 of the Convention.

The Committee, while recognising certain efforts to reduce segregated
education, further expressed concern that many Romani children are still
arbitrarily placed in special institutions or classes. Furthermore, the
Committee is concerned that the quality of schools suffers from regional
disparities and that access to preschools is reportedly limited in
regions where poverty is high and the Romani population is dominant.
Therefore, the Committee recommended that particular attention should be
paid to abolishing the segregation in schools which continues to
disadvantage Romani children, and that an obligatory component of human
rights education be introduced in the curriculum as it may play a
central role in the endeavours to change discriminatory attitudes.

On the issue of administration of juvenile justice, the Committee stated
that the overrepresentation of Romani children within the administration
of juvenile justice remains a serious concern and recommended that
Hungary ensure that the principle of non-discrimination is strictly
applied, in particular with regards to children of vulnerable groups
such as Roma.

ERRC urges Hungarian authorities to implement the Committee's
recommendations in full.

The full text of the Committee on the Rights of the Child Concluding 
Observations on Hungary is available at: 

The ERRC provided written comments to the Committee in the run-up to its 
review of Hungary's compliance with the children's rights Convention.

For further information, please contact ERRC Mandate and Communications 
Officer Rita Izsak: rita.izsak@errc.org.

The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law 
organisation which monitors the rights of Roma and provides legal
defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the
European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the web at

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93

Phone: +36 1 4132200
Fax: +36 1 4132201


The European Roma Rights Centre is dependent upon the generosity of
individual donors for its continued existence. If you believe the ERRC
performs a service valuable to the public, please join in enabling its
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European Roma Rights Centre
Budapest Bank Rt.
1054 Budapest
Bathory utca 1

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