ERRC Raises Eviction Concerns as Roma Protest in Romania
Budapest, 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.
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ERRC Media and Communications Officer