Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Amnesty raps Roma evictions

(AFP)

Bucharest — Amnesty International on Tuesday rapped Romanian authorities for evicting around 100 Roma from a town near the Black Sea coast without providing them with alternative housing.

The local mayor sent in bulldozers on Friday to raze the Roma homes and shelters set up in the town of Eforie Sud, a health mediator for the Roma community told AFP.

Among those evicted were nearly 60 children, aged a few months to 16 years, the mediator Lacramioara Georgescu added.

"Evictions should be carried out only as a last resort and in full compliance with human rights standards which include ... resettlement options," Amnesty International said in an email to AFP.

"Several of the families have lost many of their possessions and have received no compensation for their losses," it added.

The Roma families spent three days in a nearby field despite the cold weather until the mayor decided Monday to host them in an old school.

"The conditions are terrible, there is no electricity, no running water and no heating", Ionut Constantin, a Roma whose parents and sister found refuge there, told AFP by telephone.

Officials said the school was a temporary solution, until the end of the heavy rains and strong winds currently sweeping Romania.

"As soon as the weather services lift the orange code, we will send the people who settled in Eforie in recent years to the towns they came from," deputy mayor Robert Serban told AFP.

Serban said he had acted in keeping with legislation which allows the eviction of people occupying public land.

Amnesty International has repeatedly urged Romania in recent years to stop the forced eviction of Roma and observe the right to adequate housing.

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