Roma cases in Greece and Ireland raise children concerns

The high-profile cases of two young girls in Greece and Ireland have highlighted the treatment of children in Roma communities across Europe.

DNA tests conducted in central Greece on a blonde-haired girl known as Maria have shown that the couple looking after her were not her biological parents.

Tests are currently being carried out on a girl taken into care in Dublin, although a woman identified as her sister has told Irish media she has been in the family since she was born in 2007. Police were not satisfied with a birth certificate and passport provided by the family, reports say.

Both stories, one on the western fringes of Europe and the other in the east, involve blonde-haired girls with disputed documents.

“Not all Roma communities have dark skin: there are Roma who have light skin and green eyes,” says Dezideriu Gergely, head of the Budapest-based European Roma Rights Centre.