By Jonathan Lee
In scenes which should have been relegated to the early twentieth century, Roma in Romania were forced out of their burning home on Friday 31st March after non-Roma decided to ‘teach them a lesson’.
Despite Romania’s miserable rankings statistics on many poverty and social exclusion indicators, Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, found that “Many Romanian officials are in denial about the extent of poverty and especially about the systemic and deep-rooted discrimination against the extremely poor, particularly the Roma, as illustrated by cases of forced evictions and police abuse.”
An interview about the Hadareni Pogrom with human rights activist István Haller - 10 years from the ECHR judgment and 22 years from the pogrom.
Today we remember the European Court of Human Rights decision in the Moldovan and others case.
10 years ago, on July 12, 2005 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Romania violated multiple articles from the European Convention on Human Rights for failing to provide justice in connection with a 1993 pogrom.
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.
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)