Greek court refuses repatriation to Bulgarian Romani child
A five-year-old Bulgarian Romani girl who was found last year by Greek police in a Romani settlement will continue to be raised by the Greek charity organization Smile of the Child. A court has now rejected a request from the Bulgarian authorities to return the girl to her native country.
News server ČT24.cz reports that the Greek Romani couple who had raised the girl for four years still remain in custody on charges of falsifying documents and kidnapping. "The court has decided it is in the best interests of little Maria for her to remain in our care," the director of Smile of the Child confirmed to news server ČT24.cz.
The girl will remain under the protection of the Greek foundation until she turns 18. She was removed from the custody of the Greek Romani couple by authorities last October.
Police officers were searching for unlicensed weapons when they discovered the girl, who bore no physical resemblance to her alleged parents. There was great media interest in her story and the news reached Bulgaria, where her real biological mother heard about it.
It was speculated at the time that the little girl had been sold to the couple. Maria's mother has protested that she never received any money in exchange for her.
Maria's biological parents have since asked that she be returned to Bulgaria. According to the authorities, however, she would now suffer from such a move, as she is unfamiliar with the culture and language there.
Under the care of the orphanage Maria has learned to speak Greek in addition to Romanes. "She's happy, she runs around here like all the other children, she doesn't have any problems. However, we don't know what is happening with her internally, which is why we must be very careful. All of these children receive specialized psychological aid," the Smile of the Child director told ČT24.cz.
- Civil society skeptical as to whether EU Member States will align with European Commission's 10-year Roma Strategy
- Local councillor in Czech Republic sparks outrage and petition against installation of "container housing" in Romani neighborhood
- European Commission VP Věra Jourová: Not enough was done during the last decade for Roma, the EC is launching a new 10-year plan
- Bulgaria: Scandal over EU-financed training to detect alleged "radicalization" of Roma, activists say money was used to boost anti-Romani sentiment
- Commentary: What are the Romani candidates running for the fascists in the Czech Republic thinking?
- Romani candidate in Czech regional elections says politicians don't have to be corrupt
- Romani girl runner in Slovakia scores another regional victory
- Czech capital to see new Center for the Roma and Sinti, meant to serve the general public
- Commentary: The Czech and Slovak Romani community on the battlefield that is Facebook
- UK: Thousands of Czech citizens, mainly Roma, don't have the documents they need to apply for settled status
- Czech ceremony commemorating Romani prisoners sent to Auschwitz on 20 August attended by more than 150 people
- Tomáš Ščuka: Czech ombudsman's opinions just confirm his incompetence