Romanian town plans ghettoisation of Roma

On October 12, 2001, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) announced that two days previously, in the northeastern Romanian town of Piatra-Neamt, several dozen Roma gathered to protest plans of the town to move the local Roma population to an enclosed area outside the town. Subsequent ERRC field research in Piatra-Neamt revealed that on October 9, 2001, Mr Ion Rotaru, mayor of Piatra Neamt, had announced during a broadcast of the private television channel PRO TV, that authorities intended to move local Roma to a structure surrounded by barbed wire fences and guarded by community police patrols and dogs. The site to be used for the ghetto was the former chicken farm of Avicola Company, three kilometres outside Piatra Neamt. Mr Rotaru was quoted in the local electronic and print media as stating that he intended to turn the farm into a ghetto and that those Roma who did not agree to move voluntarily would be forced to move. He later denied that he had used the term "ghetto". Also according to ERRC field research in Piatra Neamt, for the past two years, seventeen families have been living in the stables of the Avicola Company. The families live in one 20 square metre room each, regardless of family size. The rooms have no source of water, no sanitary facilities, and are infested with insects. According to a report by the Romanian media house Mediafax, distributed by RFE/RL on October 17, 2001, local authorities in Romanian towns of Baia Mare and Deva also announced plans to ghettoise Roma. Also on October 17, RFE/RL broadcast that the non-governmental organisation Framework Romani Convention announced its intention to commence legal proceedings against Piatra Neamt Mayor Ion Rotaru with respect to his plan to segregate Romani citizens of the town. Further information on the situation of the Roma in Romania, including the recently published Country Report State of Impunity: Human Rights Abuse of Roma in Romania, is available on the ERRC Internet website at: www.errc.org.

(ERRC, RFE/RL)

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