Roma families in Britain: scare tactics or an absence of professionalism?

By • on September 24, 2012

UK authorities have been removing immigrant children from their families in enormous numbers.

People, EU citizens! We supported the creation of the European Union for several important reasons.

Firstly, so that our human and citizen rights would be protected. Secondly, we wanted to live freely without the dictatorship of any political force. Thirdly, we wanted better lives for us and our families, for their safety and welfare, because these values are the most important to us. This is what we voted in the referendum for joining the EU.

The EU was meant to bring a right to free movement to any country we want to live and work in to improve the living stamdards of our families. After all, a better life for our family is our main and lifelong goal. We fight for changes in society as large while focusing on improvements in the economic and healthcare sectors because we want to provide our family with a better future. And economic reasons were as important as the socio-political ones during the EU creation. Our families are the reason why we work hard to acquire some wealth that would enable us to offer security to our children, who are the focal point of our lives. Our family are what we protect, our source of joy and pride, and the reason why we joined the EU.

However, the above-mentioned principles either mean nothing to the bureaucratic British authorities, which is just another proof of their cold English temper, or the authorities do it on purpose, which is what I think. They want to scare and ultimately get rid of immigrants in order to protect their social system and work market. And they did succeed given the hundreds of families who fled England during the past week together with their children. Those people included Roma who went there because of work.

The British have been removing children and giving emotional disturbance as a reason. Supposedly, EU immigrants are unable to look after their children and therefore the British need to tear apart entire families, causing the greatest tragedy for parents and children: separation. The parents return home and their children are offered for adoption to foreigners whose language they do not understand. This is how the British solve the threat of an emotional disturbance. They actually speed it up really thoroughly themselves.

From my point of view, such actions can shake the union’s foundation and ultimately demolish it completely. And Europeans citizens will stop believing in the EU when they see that its institutions are unable to protect family rights, and that any of its petty clerks can cause devastation with a stroke of their pen.

The media has recently been abuzz with shocking news about how another immigrant family had their children removed by the British authorities. The aforementioned Roma family moved to the U.K. because it believed in the EU principles and hoped to find work, as they were unable to do so in Slovakia.
The family comes from Brekov, a village near Humenné in eastern Slovakia. I know several Roma from there and I can testify that those Roma belong to some of the most well-known and respected families in the region. They managed to build beautiful houses after the Velvet Revolution and their general culture and communication skills are way above the average. They are not loiterers and people living on social welfare. However, as some strategic companies from the area closed up or went bankrupt, they had to look for work anywhere possible. That family from Brekov went to England in hope of finding a job. But they had to pay an insane price for their audacity: they lost their five children. The family has ten children in total and five of them returned to Slovakia because the parents managed to send them back to their grand parents in the mean time. But the parents remain in England trying to get the rest of their offspring back.

The reasons why the English clerks did all of this are still not clear, not even after Stanislav Cina, an employee of ‘The Office of Government Plenipotentiary for Roma Communities’ asked them to provide a justification for their actions.

In order to describe the situation better, I will use the Slovakian daily “Korzár” as my source.

The facts are the following:

Children are being removed from their families.

Offices throughout Great Britain have been also paying more attention to the children of immigrants.

Approximately thirty Roma families were firsthand witnesses of the increasing strictness.

Children first end up in alternative care and form there they are offered for adoption.

The most common cause for separation is the threat of an emotional disturbance. A mere testimony from the neighbours is often enough evidence to lanch the entire process.

Stanislav Cina from the Office of the Government Plenipotentiary for Roma Communities has recently visited the family in Brekov. He intends to pass the information on to the ‘Centre for the International Legal Protection of Children and Youth’. “Until now, we still do not hold any information regarding why the authorities took away these children. We can confirm that the family lives decently and offers good conditions for healthy development of the children. The separation might do more harm than help.”

Petra Mihaľko, the mayor of Brekov, was taken aback by the news. “We never had any problem with this family. They are far from being asocial lechers. The parents always looked after their children. They pay taxes and whenever they didn’t have enough, we agreed on scheduled installments.” According to the mayor, several other families left for Ireland, Belgium and England seeking work and the experience did them a lot of good. “They are people who want to work and there is no work for them at home. The money they save abroad help them reconstruct their houses here, buy cars and raise the local living standards at home.”

In a matter of seconds, the Internet gushes out numerous links about separated children or parents who have been the victims of the British social services. There are hundreds of similar cases in England. Channel 4 (a British TV channel) estimates that three to six hundred families fled the islands out of fear of the social services. The businessman Ian Josephs draws attention to similar cases and financially supports some of the afflicted families. He lives in Monaco and offers legal advice from there too. He declared for SME Daily that he meets approximately two thousand cases of forced adoptions every year.

The Slovak Roma feel not only deep irritation but also fear for their family. The EU work market previously meant to offer them security does not exist anymore. They do not want to visit the EU like tourists do, they need work. The Roma are asking for justice from international human rights organizations. They request an investigation into the matter and a way to force British authorities to stop removing children from their families without justification.

I have spoken to a few Roma who have relatives in Britain. They are worried for their children so they have been asking the relatives to return home and be dependant on welfare rather than to have their children removed. Some of my acquaintances have already returned. They are sad about not being able to find work in Slovakia and are afraid of going into debt again, because it is not possible to survive on the dole.

The idea of the EU lost its sense for these families. One can only presume how many will follow, and what the implications for the stock market, banks and huge international companies will be. In the meantime we, the ordinary Europeans, will keep living behind the iron curtain of imaginary freedom.