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Rowling to promote children's rights

Publication: New Zeeland Stuff
Date: Jan 27 2006 

HARRY Potter creator JK Rowling threw her weight today behind efforts to help abandoned children in eastern Europe during a two day visit to Romania , where childcare was crippled by communism.

A new charity she is helping spearhead will promote reforms of child protection in the Black Sea state which is eager to banish images of children in vast, filthy orphanages that shocked the world in the early 1990s.

"I have been inspired by everything I have seen during this very brief visit," the multi-millionaire author said during a fundraising event in Bucharest today.

"Romania is now showing the way in protection of children's rights," she said.

The new charity, Children's High Level Group, will promote Romania 's reforms across eastern Europe.

Romania has been struggling to improve children's rights for years, but many observers say the country's weak administration and courts and badly trained or irresponsible officials hinder its reforms.

A 2005 ban on foreign adoptions, part of the reform package, has drawn both criticism and praise.

Romania 's two most famous sports stars, gymnast Nadia Comaneci and tennis player Ilie Nastase, together bought a Harry Potter book signed by Rowling during the fundraising event for 2500 euro ($4093).

While in Bucharest , Rowling visited the Czech embassy to express concerns about reports she had seen about institutionalised children put in caged beds in the Czech Republic .


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