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.

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Roma Community in Romania Still Treated like Waste Six Years On

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Families excluded

The families are socially excluded and their living conditions are inhumane © Amnesty International

By Fotis Filippou, EU Team Campaigner for Amnesty International

Amnesty International recently visited Romania, where we met with a Romani community living behind a sewage treatment plant in Miercurea Ciuc, central Romania.

More than six years after they were forcibly evicted from their homes, around 75 Roma people, including families with children, are living in unsanitary conditions in metal cabins and shacks.

Back then they were told that the move would be temporary but it has started to feel very permanent.

Fear for children's health

Many have said how unbearable it is to live there and how afraid they are for their and their children's health © Amnesty International

Many have said how unbearable it is to live there and how afraid they are for their and their children’s health © Amnesty International

Now living on the fringes of the city, the families are socially excluded and their living conditions are inhumane. The sanitation facilities are woefully inadequate, with only four toilet cubicles for 75 people and one tap for drinking water.

The metal cabins and shacks are overcrowded and provide no protection from heat and rain. The approaching winter, during which the temperature in Miercurea Ciuc can be below -25 °C, is a reminder of the need for an alternative site to be found without further delays.

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