Roma Children Most Deprived Group in Croatia

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, May 9, 2019 – Children’s ombudswoman Helenca Pirnat Dragičević said in parliament on Thursday that inequality was one of the key challenges in the exercise of children’s rights, that their quality of life depended on the place of residence or birth, and that Roma children were the most deprived group.

Roma children have no access to a broad range of services, mostly because their families are poor, yet positive examples from some communities show that their lives can be changed, she said.

Submitting a report on the work of her office in 2018, i.e. on the rights of 800,000 children in Croatia, she warned about a high poverty risk and unequal availability of services, for example healthcare, which she said created big differences between children already from birth.

As for the most frequent violations of children’s rights, the ombudswoman said children in institutions were especially vulnerable, followed by violations of their rights in education and violence against children.

“Children in Croatia suffer violence and neglect at home, in school, in the community and the digital environment,” she said, adding that one in four children under 16 had been physically or psychologically punished, or witnessed violence between their parents.

Saša Đujić of the opposition Social Democratic Party asked if it was abuse of children’s rights or normal when a politician, for example, visited a school and took pictures with children, read them stories and gave them candy.

The ombudswoman said it was “certainly not” normal but that headmasters were also responsible as “they must see to the best interest of the children.”

More news about the Roma in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.


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