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Romania: Whether the police would ignore the complaints of domestic violence of a Roma woman, sold by her parents to her husband for a certain sum of money (May 2003-January 2005)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 25 January 2005
Citation / Document Symbol ROM43316.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Romania: Whether the police would ignore the complaints of domestic violence of a Roma woman, sold by her parents to her husband for a certain sum of money (May 2003-January 2005), 25 January 2005, ROM43316.E, available at: [accessed 28 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Specific information on whether Roma women who were sold by their parents were ignored by police in case of domestic abuse could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within time constraints. However, the following information is relevant.

A spokesperson for the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) in Budapest provided the following information in 20 January 2005 correspondence:

According to the spokesperson, Roma women "very rarely dare to complain to the police about domestic abuse." Reasons for such reluctance to seek the help of the authorities include fear of revenge by the husband or his family and the "inaction of the police and their incapacity to protect such women." The spokesperson indicated that until recently, Romanian laws offered little protection to any Romanian women who were victims of domestic violence, let alone Roma women. The discouragement to report incidents of domestic abuse to the police that is felt by Romanian women is only exacerbated in the case of the Roma. The spokesperson further stated that her organisation had come across many instances in which the "police ignored complaints filed by Roma in general." According to the spokesperson, "incidents of abuse against Roma are usually not properly investigated and rarely end up in indictment decisions against the perpetrators."

According to the BBC, women's rights within Roma society are minimal, and the tradition of selling girls into marriage "all too often [...] against their will" (still adhered to by some Roma communities), is over a thousand years old (30 May 2003).

Several sources consulted mentioned the problem of Roma child weddings in Romania (ERRC 7 Oct. 2003; AP 4 Oct. 2003; BBC 30 May 2003) and the frequent "uninterested eye" of Romanian authorities regarding the rights of Roma children (ibid.), including cases in which minor Roma girls undergo arranged marriages (AP 4 Oct. 2003).

For further information on the protection available to female victims of domestic violence, please see ROM42612.FE of 17 May 2004.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Associated Press (AP). 4 October 2003. Alison Mutler. "Despite European Protests, Romanians Doubt Arranged Weddings Will Stop." (Dialog)

BBC News. 30 May 2004. Callum Macrae. "Gypsy Child Brides." [Accessed 21 Jan. 2005]

European Roma Rights Center (ERRC). 20 January 2005. Correspondence from a spokesperson.
_____. 7 October 2003. "ERRC Statement Concerning Recent Events Surrounding Romanian Romani Wedding." (ERRC)

Additional Sources Consulted

The Roma Center for Social Intervention Studies (CRISS) and the Ethnocultural Diversity Resource Center, both based in Bucharest, did not respond to the Research Directorate within time constraints.

Internet Sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), Bucharest Daily News, European Country of Origin Information Netowork (ECOI), Freedom House, Human Rights Watch (HRW), International Crisis Group (ICG), Radio Free Europe, United States Department of State, World News Connection (WNC).

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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