Roma deported from Poland

05 January 1999

The Gazeta Wyborcza, a Polish daily, reported on October 30, 1998 that 370 Romanian Roma without visas or other documents were arrested on October 28 in a hotel in Kochtowice, Opole region. The Roma were then locked in a sports hall overnight and deported over the next two days. The newspaper reported that none of the Roma had any papers, but that some of them had been in Poland for up to three years. They had been staying in a local hotel where whole families lived in twin rooms for which they paid 300 złotys per month. According to employees of the hotel, they were no trouble.

The deportations took place under Poland's controversial obcy (alien) law which has been publicly disclaimed as perpetuating xenophobia. On November 26 Gazeta Wyborcza reported that at 6am on November 25, 200 police and 100 border guards raided worker's hostels on the outskirts of Katowice, Ruda Slaská, Pyskowice and Rybnik (all in the southern Poland region of Katowice). By 2pm they had arrested 150 illegal immigrants, many of whom were Roma, and over a third were minors. Their intention was to deport all of them, except that those who could afford it would be expected to pay their own air fare. (Gazeta Wyborcza)


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