Tag: forced evictions
By Claudia Linda Zsiga, a Roma woman and activist in Romania.
17 December will forever be a sad day for me. It’s the day when, four years ago, 76 Roma families, including mine, were forcibly evicted from our homes on Coastei Street in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. We did nothing wrong. Our only fault was that we are Roma.
In the middle of a harsh winter, with just one day’s notice, we were told we needed to move. The local authorities relocated us to the outskirts of the city, close to a landfill and a former chemical dump. Forty families were given just one room each of 16 or 18 square meters. The other 36 families were effectively left homeless, as they were told to ‘build something’ on the nearby plots of land. A new life began for us on that 17 December – in an area potentially damaging for our health, far away from the city and the life we once knew.
The town of Miskolc in north-eastern Hungary is at the segregation game again. The town, once the centre of coal, iron and steel industries, and once a major employer for thousands Roma is not new to controversies regarding segregation. This is the town that was forced by the High Court to shut down segregating schools.
As various reports indicate, thousands of Roma face evictions in Romania. Under the pretext of urban regeneration or development, entire communities are swept away in forced evictions and house demolitions. The lack of documentation proving ownership is the legal reason most often cited by the authorities to justify such actions. That is the reason communities were evicted in two cases currently being monitored by the European Roma Rights Centre: one in Pata-Rat (Cluj-Napoca) and another in Eforie Sud (Constanta)
In 2013, the ERRC launched a participatory research and advocacy project focusing on the human rights of Romanian Roma living in informal settlements in France. Working in three different regions in France on two settlements in each location, 118 adults were interviewed. Of the information collected, the most unsettling regarding human rights was the situation of Romani children and access to education as well as their psychological well-being due to frequent forced evictions.
In January, the European Court of Human Rights delivered an inadmissibility decision (which it helpfully posted on the front page of its site). The decision has tremendous implications for the single most important issue that the ERRC litigates: forced evictions of Roma. The decision is in French.