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ERRC Raises Eviction Concerns as Roma Protest in Romania

19 January 2011

Roma forcibly evicted to segregated social housing in the Pata-Rat Romani settlement 18 km outside of Cluj-Napoca protest the deterioration of their living conditions, saying: "I am Roma. I want to live in dignity." Photo credit: Desire FoundationBudapest, Cluj-Napoca, 19 January 2011: In snow and freezing temperatures, Roma and non-Roma gathered in the centre of Cluj-Napoca today to protest the 17 December forced eviction of 270 Roma from their homes in the centre of the city to the segregated Pata-Rat Romani settlement, some 18 kilometres away.

According to research conducted by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) with local partners Amare Phrala and Desire Foundation, with only one day’s warning on 17 December 2010 the homes of 270 Romani residents of Coastei Street were demolished and the residents forcibly removed to social housing in Pata-Rat, the location of a garbage dump and toxic waste site. The modular homes provided lack heating, hot water and kitchens; between 7 and 13 people are crammed into maximum 18 metre square single-room apartments and four apartments share a single bathroom. Romania’s moratorium on winter evictions was ignored, as was the fact that many of the affected Roma were paying rent to the municipality, working and attending school in the city centre.

Earlier this week, the ERRC and its partners sent a letter to Romanian local and national authorities and representatives of the European Union, Council of Europe, United Nations and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, outlining violations of human rights standards. The ERRC and its partners called for urgent measures to move the individuals affected back into Cluj-Napoca and re-accommodate them in appropriate alternative housing.

Robert Kushen, Executive Director of the ERRC, said: “Illegal actions like these evictions highlight the need for pan-European action to protect the rights of Roma.  By evicting Roma from their homes, cutting them off from their jobs and their schools, the Mayor of Cluj is only encouraging more Roma to migrate to France and elsewhere in search of a better life.”

The ERRC and its partners also spoke out at a public debate in Cluj-Napoca to condemn the violations of Romanian and international law inflicted by local authorities on the residents during the eviction.

For further information, contact:
Sinan Gokcen
ERRC Media and Communications Officer

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ERRC submission to the European Commission on Roma Inclusion in enlargement countries (May 2017)

25 May 2017

Written comments by the ERRC to the European Commission on enlargement component of the EU Roma Framework.


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Roma Rights 1 2017: Roma and Conflict: Understanding the Impact of War and Political Violence

16 May 2017

The impact of conflict on minority populations merits special attention, especially if those minorities have long been marginalized, viewed by the warring parties with a mixture of ambivalence and contempt, and deemed to be communities of little consequence in the peace-building processes that follow the conclusion of hostilities. This issue of Roma Rights Journal takes a look at the fate of Roma during and after conflicts.

Sometimes Roma have been the direct targets of murderous aggression or subject to reprisals. Then there have been the many times where individual Roma actively took a side, but too often the roles played by Roma, Travellers and other minorities were elided from the dominant national narratives that followed.

In many conflicts, caught between warring groups with no foreign power or military alliance to champion their claims, Roma found themselves displaced, despised and declaimed as bogus refugees, nomads and “mere” economic migrants in the aftermath.

As long as Europe’s largest ethnic minority is written out and rendered invisible in the histories of Europe’s wars and conflicts; and excluded from the politics of reconstruction and peace-making, the continent’s self-understanding will remain fatally flawed.

Editors: Marek Szilvasi, Kieran O’Reilly, Bernard Rorke

Roma Rights 1 2017 (PDF)

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