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Romania: EU Condemns Marriage Of 12-Year-Old Romany Girl

Brussels, 1 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The European Commission today condemned the forced marriage of 12-year-old Romany girl in Romania, and said Bucharest should have acted to stop the marriage. The Romany girl tried to flee the arranged marriage over the weekend, but was forced to go through with the wedding by her father, the self-proclaimed king of the Gypsies (Roma).

Although the couple was under the legal age of sexual consent and marriage, Bucharest authorities did not stop the event. But they later opened an inquiry into whether the girl was the victim of statutory rape.

EU Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou today said that Romania's EU ambitions mean it must maintain high standards of human rights. She said that when traditions and human rights clash, rights must prevail.

Diamantopoulou also called on the Romany community to ensure the rights of children, rather than "prematurely forcing them into adulthood."