Evictions of Roma in Romania

07 November 2002

On August 13, 2002, over fifty Romani families were evicted from the shacks they were living in behind the unfinished Radio House on Splaiul IndependenĹŁei in the centre of Bucharest's 1st District, according to the Romanian national daily newspaper Gardianul of August 14, 2002. According to the Gardianul, the Romani men were taken to the Third Police Station when they failed to show the police their identification documents, while the women and children were expelled from Bucharest to the towns from which they originally came.

On July 27, 2002, the Bucharest-based daily newspaper Monitorul de Bucureşti reported that, on July 26, 2002 at 8:00 AM, eight Romani families were evicted from Bucharest's 1st District by police officers, public guardian and inspectors from the District's Mayors Office. According to the daily, the Roma were forced into their carts, escorted to the city limits and expelled. In addition, the Roma were given administrative fines for having brought their carts into the Bucharest's 1st District, in violation of the Bucharest General Council's Decision 233 dated October 26, 2000, which prohibits people from entering the city centre with horse-drawn carts.

According to the electronic newsletter Inforrom of July 25, 2002, dozens of Romani families were evicted from the Romani neighbourhood Ghidiceni in the Prelungirea Ghencea zone of Bucharest. According to Inforrom, the neighbourhood was located near a reservoir in Bucharest, owned by the Apa Nova Water Supply Company. The Roma had reportedly been served eviction notices several times in the past by the local council of Bragadiru, a village on the outskirts of Bucharest and the Apa Nova Water Supply Company. When they did not leave, Mr Emanuel Nica, the Bragadiru Police Chief, together with police officers, evicted the Romani families and destroyed their homes. According to Inforrom, the police forced the Roma into their carts and out of Bucharest. Inforrom further stated that the police engaged in similar actions in Domneşti and Ciorogâria. Inforrom reported that a representative of the Bragadiru Mayor's Office stated that the cleansing of Roma from the area had just begun and the action would continue.

According to the daily Monitorul de Bucureşti of June 13, 2002, several Romani families were evicted from Cremeniţa Street in Bucharest's 2nd District. According to the article, the Roma were living in illegal constructs on the street. During the eviction, the buildings were reportedly destroyed on the order of Mr Neculai Ontanu, Bucharest's 2nd District Mayor, to prevent the return of the Roma. According to the article, the Romani families were escorted to the outskirts of Bucharest by police officers and public guardians and expelled from the city.

Finally, on the morning of May 15, 2002, twenty Roma were evicted from Bucharest's 4th District, according to the electronic newsletter Romanews of the same day. As reported in Romanews, six tents were demolished during the eviction, carried out by the police in the presence of representatives of the 4th District Mayor's Office. According to an official statement issued by the Mayor's Office, the Roma, who had been in the area for only a few weeks, were evicted due to the unhygienic conditions of their settlement caused by the lack of electricity and drinking water. One of the evicted Roma, Mr Enache Gigel, was quoted in Romanews as having stated that the group, which had been given one day's warning but stayed because they did not have anywhere else to go, had been living in the area for several years.

Forced eviction, in most cases, contravenes Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ratified by Romania in 1974, which states in Article 11 that, "The States Parties to the present Covenant recognise the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realisation of this right […]." On May 20, 1997, the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights issued a general comment on the right to adequate housing and forced evictions that stated, "Evictions should not result in individuals being rendered homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights. Where those affected are unable to provide for themselves, the State party must take all appropriate measures, to the maximum of its available resources, to ensure that adequate alternative housing, resettlement or access to productive land, as the case may be, is available."

(Aven amentza, ERRC, Gardianul, Inforrom, Monitorul de Bucureşti, Romanews)


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