Czech Roma Unable to Return to Reconstructed Homes
13 November 2006
According to the 18 May 2006 newsletter of the Romani Information Service, the Romani residents of a former hostel who were forcibly evicted in 2005 to facilitate reconstruction of the building are unable to return to the recently finished apartment house in the Czech town of Kostelec nad Orlici. The Romani Information Service reported that, while town officials stated that the evicted Roma are eligible to apply for housing in the new building, the affected individuals can not afford to pay the rental rates charged by local authorities for the housing, and some have housing debts, which render them ineligible. Some of the affected Roma have applied for housing in the new building, but do not expect to receive housing. The head of Kostelec nad Orlici department for social issues was reported to have stated that this is not a problem because the Roma who were evicted already have a place to live: "Some of them live in Kostelec, others outside the town. They live in hostels, private objects, or with their relatives."
The practice in the Czech Republic of evicting Romani residents from dilapidated housing for the purposes of reconstruction is becoming widespread. The practice is of concern because is has the effect of forcing Romani individuals out of central areas in towns and cities and into different, segregated, substandard housing, as they are frequently unable to return to their original residence due to high rental prices. Information on a similar case in the Czech Republic is available on the ERRC's Internet website at: http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2478.
(ERRC, Romani Information Service)