Displaced Roma Families Head into Brutal Winter without Adequate Housing

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This post is part of our Write for Rights series.

Around 100 children, women and men, forcibly evicted from their homes by the Romanian government six years ago, continue to live in dirty, inhumane conditions.  With nowhere else to go, they are stuck in small, overcrowded metal shacks that stand next to a large sewage plant. A sign outside the plant warns of “toxic danger”, yet the authorities have failed to heed this warning and the Roma families are suffering.

The Roma families are from the Romanian town of Miercurea Ciuc, and despite the fact that authorities told them the movie was only temporary, six years have passed and there are still no plans to relocate them. The 75 people remaining are living with only 4 toilets between them, 1 tap for water, and shacks that do not provide protection from the elements, which is of serious concern for the winter season when temperatures drop below -25 °C (-13 °F). In addition, the families are also living within 300 meters of toxic waste, which is prohibited under Romanian law. Many Roma have expressed concern about their health, and the health of their families, reporting an awful stench that constantly lingers in the air.

International law was violated when the Roma were forcibly evicted six years ago: the families were not given the opportunity to challenge the eviction decision, and they were given no opportunity to engage with the decision-making process. No written, detailed notification, including the date of the eviction, was given to all involved evictees sufficiently in advance, despite the requirements of the Romanian law. In addition, the current conditions in which they live do not fulfill the human right to adequate housing. Unfortunately, this case is not unique to Romania: the Roma people have frequently been the targets of discrimination across Europe, suffering from inadequate housing, education, health, water and sanitation. The Decade of Roma Inclusion, initiated in 2005 by eight European countries with international support, acknowledged the disparate conditions facing Roma, sometimes derogatively referred to as ‘gypsies,’ throughout Europe.  Sadly, half way through the initiative, there still remains much to be done to ensure adequate human rights for the Roma population. Help make a difference by participating in this year’s Global Write-a-Thon, and sending letters to the Romanian authorities demanding that action be taken to help these Roma families.

Jodi Rafkin, Romania Country Specialist, and Elizabeth Stitt, Campaign for Individuals at Risk, contributed to this post.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

12 thoughts on “Displaced Roma Families Head into Brutal Winter without Adequate Housing

  1. You guys keep repeating this false statement over and over again…"they were evicted from THEIR HOMES".In Romania nobody is being evicted from THEIR HOME,Gypsy or not.They were evicted from houses they were occupying abusively as they would be evicted anywhere in this world where the RULE OF LAW applies!It is not the Taxpayer"s job to pay rent for them or to provide for their children.Nobody pays my rent and nobody is feeding my kids.I had to go working and stay far from my family for months at a time to make the ends meet.Why can"t they do the same?Because working is humiliating for their kind?…Yeah right…give us a break,will you?

  2. You guys keep repeating this false statement over and over again…”they were evicted from THEIR HOMES”.In Romania nobody is being evicted from THEIR HOME,Gypsy or not.They were evicted from houses they were occupying abusively as they would be evicted anywhere in this world where the RULE OF LAW applies!It is not the Taxpayer”s job to pay rent for them or to provide for their children.Nobody pays my rent and nobody is feeding my kids.I had to go working and stay far from my family for months at a time to make the ends meet.Why can”t they do the same?Because working is humiliating for their kind?…Yeah right…give us a break,will you?

  3. Sorry, but this is false. Even though this post wants to make a point about discrimination and tremendous treatment, this is not the perfect example. Those homes weren`t theirs…Can you imagine leaving your house for a year and then come back and other people live there claiming it is theirs? Sorry but I feel no sympathy for kicking them out!

  4. Sorry, but this is false. Even though this post wants to make a point about discrimination and tremendous treatment, this is not the perfect example. Those homes weren`t theirs…Can you imagine leaving your house for a year and then come back and other people live there claiming it is theirs? Sorry but I feel no sympathy for kicking them out!

  5. Yes I can imagine LEAVING MY HOUSE – abandoning it and then a year later someone else lives there. That nomadic away of life and squatting empty property has been quite common in human way of living for most of the million and half years that people have existed. WE are evolved for it. It works well with student accommodation, hotels and hostels, so why not here too??

    Why are they in these places if the local authority have provided a well appointed camp site for them to stay at?? I guess there is no such place, as in many EU countries there is no desire to spend the money or keep the rights of nomadic people of a different ethnicity. Even if laws and money are given for this.

    Romania is pretty corrupt and although the exact details are hard to find here due process does not seem to have been followed – or if it has perhaps those that claim this can point to some newpaper articles / court records / public letters as evidence??? NO well I guess its just blaming the Roma people again for the fact that Romania is not looking after its citizens properly – as required by the EU LISBON TREATY (signed by Romania) – which is that everyone has to be given the chance to live in dignity (this is irrelevant of if they work or not).

    M

  6. I think Europe stinks, stinks in his carelessness in social conflicts, by their narrow view of global developments,by corruption that threatens all community countries.Stinks for the small and poor intervention in the economic powers. Smells like racism, like a lack of solidarity,like a incompetence.
    Brussels has still much work ahead in the control of official authorities, local councils etc. ..specially in the arrangements and money distribution.
    Advanced societies must enforce laws to prevent the massive and indiscriminate expulsion of human beings and judges should be more involved in these changes.
    Holocaust should go to the books of history but not in our times.

  7. Yes I can imagine LEAVING MY HOUSE – abandoning it and then a year later someone else lives there. That nomadic away of life and squatting empty property has been quite common in human way of living for most of the million and half years that people have existed. WE are evolved for it. It works well with student accommodation, hotels and hostels, so why not here too??

    Why are they in these places if the local authority have provided a well appointed camp site for them to stay at?? I guess there is no such place, as in many EU countries there is no desire to spend the money or keep the rights of nomadic people of a different ethnicity. Even if laws and money are given for this.

    Romania is pretty corrupt and although the exact details are hard to find here due process does not seem to have been followed – or if it has perhaps those that claim this can point to some newpaper articles / court records / public letters as evidence??? NO well I guess its just blaming the Roma people again for the fact that Romania is not looking after its citizens properly – as required by the EU LISBON TREATY (signed by Romania) – which is that everyone has to be given the chance to live in dignity (this is irrelevant of if they work or not).

    M

  8. I think Europe stinks, stinks in his carelessness in social conflicts, by their narrow view of global developments,by corruption that threatens all community countries.Stinks for the small and poor intervention in the economic powers. Smells like racism, like a lack of solidarity,like a incompetence.
    Brussels has still much work ahead in the control of official authorities, local councils etc. ..specially in the arrangements and money distribution.
    Advanced societies must enforce laws to prevent the massive and indiscriminate expulsion of human beings and judges should be more involved in these changes.
    Holocaust should go to the books of history but not in our times.

  9. What I like about Amnesty International is that they address all people's needs and in doing so bring to light the prejudices in all of us which impede not only others from living a quality life, but ourselves in the process as well.
    If in fact, these Roma families had occupied homes that belonged to others, and done so without the permission of the homeowners, than no, I don't believe it would be right for them to live there. However, this situation (if it is indeed the reality – for hearsay is not the truth), demonstrates the necessity of valuing community and everyone's need to live in decent shelter.

    On Dec 4th, clau2002, brought up that laws are laws and should be unquestionably followed. Let's look at how individuals and governments can neglect and abuse people's rights to a quality life and fair representation through the manipulation of authoritative power, aka – laws. It is the law in many Southern states in the U.S. to throw queer people in prison, it's the law in many countries to stone to death women who are blackmailed as adulterers, and the Thailand government has made loopholes in their laws so they can profit from selling off Thai children to pedophiles and blackmarket "adoption" centers.
    And most apparent, if Americans are going to speak out against others illegally occupying people's land/homes – than if you are white, black, asian, etc… than guess what you are participating in the takeover of Indigenous Native Americans' lands and homes. So should they rightfully throw us out of what is now labeled "The United States"?
    Laws do not equate reason, fairness, or justice. They are constructions of the elite, for all to be effected by.
    Where is your humanity and decency? Let alone common sense.
    So possibly these people squatted in someone's home, yes, again, if this is the case, move them out, but for god's sake, they are seeking shelter, so use this instance to provide adequate shelter, not some awful, tin shack near a sewage facility that those implementing the rules wouldn't even consider for a second as a place for their personal selves and family.
    Corruption plays out in many forms, why ignore this opportunity to cease such corruption both for these families and within our own mindsets?

  10. What I like about Amnesty International is that they address all people’s needs and in doing so bring to light the prejudices in all of us which impede not only others from living a quality life, but ourselves in the process as well.
    If in fact, these Roma families had occupied homes that belonged to others, and done so without the permission of the homeowners, than no, I don’t believe it would be right for them to live there. However, this situation (if it is indeed the reality – for hearsay is not the truth), demonstrates the necessity of valuing community and everyone’s need to live in decent shelter.

    On Dec 4th, clau2002, brought up that laws are laws and should be unquestionably followed. Let’s look at how individuals and governments can neglect and abuse people’s rights to a quality life and fair representation through the manipulation of authoritative power, aka – laws. It is the law in many Southern states in the U.S. to throw queer people in prison, it’s the law in many countries to stone to death women who are blackmailed as adulterers, and the Thailand government has made loopholes in their laws so they can profit from selling off Thai children to pedophiles and blackmarket “adoption” centers.
    And most apparent, if Americans are going to speak out against others illegally occupying people’s land/homes – than if you are white, black, asian, etc… than guess what you are participating in the takeover of Indigenous Native Americans’ lands and homes. So should they rightfully throw us out of what is now labeled “The United States”?
    Laws do not equate reason, fairness, or justice. They are constructions of the elite, for all to be effected by.
    Where is your humanity and decency? Let alone common sense.
    So possibly these people squatted in someone’s home, yes, again, if this is the case, move them out, but for god’s sake, they are seeking shelter, so use this instance to provide adequate shelter, not some awful, tin shack near a sewage facility that those implementing the rules wouldn’t even consider for a second as a place for their personal selves and family.
    Corruption plays out in many forms, why ignore this opportunity to cease such corruption both for these families and within our own mindsets?

  11. Perish the systems where laws can go along with evictions without notice …. evictions without warning ……. evictions in the face of winter .

    Perish the taxpayers who ply shiftless bureacracies & heavy – armed state forces with their monies without a squeak, but withold a pittance from a mere one hundred starving & homeless souls in the name of "justice" & "righteousness" !

    & perish the EU & Brussels as well, for taking the morsels from the mouths of Europe's workers & cramming them into the gullets of the IMF & the banksters !

    As for the Native Peoples of the americas, the traditionals, never do they demand that other races be thrown out of house & home in the name of "laws".

    Under their Natural Law ….. not nationstate "laws" …… they fed even the invaders of their lands when they were hungry, & sheltered them when they were naked.

    They do not seek to dispossess the poor of other colors ….. they seek to rid themselves of their own dispossesssed impoverishment.

    Europe can learn from them how to treat the Roma …… & herself.

  12. Perish the systems where laws can go along with evictions without notice …. evictions without warning ……. evictions in the face of winter .

    Perish the taxpayers who ply shiftless bureacracies & heavy – armed state forces with their monies without a squeak, but withold a pittance from a mere one hundred starving & homeless souls in the name of “justice” & “righteousness” !

    & perish the EU & Brussels as well, for taking the morsels from the mouths of Europe’s workers & cramming them into the gullets of the IMF & the banksters !

    As for the Native Peoples of the americas, the traditionals, never do they demand that other races be thrown out of house & home in the name of “laws”.

    Under their Natural Law ….. not nationstate “laws” …… they fed even the invaders of their lands when they were hungry, & sheltered them when they were naked.

    They do not seek to dispossess the poor of other colors ….. they seek to rid themselves of their own dispossesssed impoverishment.

    Europe can learn from them how to treat the Roma …… & herself.