The future of Roma children is a shared responsibility

The European Parliament's Working Group on the Quality of Childhood held a session on the situation of Roma children. Lívia Járóka MEP (European People's Party) drew the attention to external and internal dangers threatening Roma children on the part of society and their own communities.

In her speech at the session organized by the “Alliance for Childhood European Network” Lívia Járóka emphasized that Life perspectives are especially gruesome for most Roma minors since in addition to the outside threats such as extreme socio-economic deprivation and lack of education, they often faced threats from the “inside” such as domestic violence, early and arranged marriages and in extreme cases they might fall prey of “beggar mafias”. She called the systemic segregation of Roma pupils one of the most grievous problems in new and old Member States and reminded that 20% of Roma children were not enrolled in school and 30% of them abandoned school before completing the compulsory education. According to Járóka, segregation not only weakened the level of national education systems but would cause society to lose a significant source of contribution: better educated Roma would have better paid jobs and the combination of the increased tax contribution and decreased welfare benefits added up for net income for the national budget. She emphasized that special focus needed to be put on female and early education, since education of women was particularly influential on the educational performance of communities and – especially in socially disadvantaged families – pre-school preparation was crucial regarding the whole walk of life.

 

Járóka also drew the attention to malpractices and violations of the human rights of children within the Roma community and emphasized that these issues had to be addressed by Roma communities and organizations themselves. As an example she spoke about early marriages: many of young Roma girls are married when they are still children and thus undertake responsibilities they are not physically or mentally prepared to disrupting their prospects for education and employment.