New UNICEF report condemns German policy of deporting Roma children
UNICEF presented a shocking new report on Thursday, detailing the situation of some 12,000 Romany people, including many children, living in Germany under threat of deportation to Kosovo.
The police often come unannounced at 4 a.m., to reduce the chance that their targets will find a place to hide.
After being rushed into a van, the terrified Romany families are taken to the airport - often with a detour to the local police station, where they are asked to sign a statement saying that their deportation is voluntary. In exchange, they are often promised better housing when they arrive in Kosovo. These promises are rarely held.
Because of this harried departure, vital documents like birth certificates are often left behind. Families living in Germany since the early 1990s suddenly find themselves back in Kosovo - virtually destitute in the poorest country in Europe.
The children, arriving in a country where they have never been, and whose languages - Serbian and Albanian - they do not speak, suffer particularly.
"Of the 66 children that we personally interviewed that were of school age, only 17 still attended school once they were back in Kosovo," said Verena Knaus, who co-authored a new report by UNICEF, the United Nations children's organization, on the situation.
"This means that three out of four drop out of school. The main reason for that is the poverty of the family - that they just simply cannot afford the materials, the clothes, the transport costs," she told Deutsche Welle.
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