Roma community forcibly evicted from Coastei Street share their story

The Roma community forcibly evicted from Coastei Street has been living in the New Pata Rat area since December 2010. (c) Joshua Gross, Joshua Tree Photography

The Roma community forcibly evicted from Coastei Street has been living in the New Pata Rat area since December 2010. (c) Joshua Gross, Joshua Tree Photography

By Creta Ernest & Fekete Petru members of the Coastei Street community,

Support the call for justice of the Roma community forcibly evicted from Coastei Street by taking action

It’s been over a year 76 families, the majority Roma, were forcibly evicted from the centre of the city of Cluj-Napoca in Romania. Over half of the families were re-housed in new housing units on the outskirts of the city in the New Pata Rat area, close to a garbage dump and a former chemical waste dump, in inadequate housing conditions. The rooms are overcrowded, they do not provide protection from damp and mould and the sanitation facilities are inadequate. 36 families, including the authors of the blog entry, were not provided with any alternative housing. Most of them had to construct improvised homes. They have no access to water, sanitation and electricity. With only a verbal agreement from the municipality and no formal title to the land, they live in a fear of eviction and of losing their homes again. Two young Roma who experienced the eviction shared it with us their story during the recent mission to Cluj-Napoca.

“The forced eviction from Coastei Street nr. 18 started on 15 December 2010. We aim to be as brief as possible in describing the traumatising event which took place from 15 to 17 December 2010.

In the morning of 15 December, we were woken up at 6.00 am with repeated knocks on the door, by the communitarian police, the public order police and gendarmes. The latter informed us that we were going to be allocated social housing, and so we were to go to the local Mayor’s office to be registered.

On16 December, a communitarian police unit patrolling Coastei Street used microphones to announce the disaster which was about to take place the following day. We all spent the night very worried and scared, not knowing what was going to happen to us.

The next day, early in the morning, an impressive number of police forces arrived on Coastei Street, joined by the local authorities. We were overwhelmed and terrified by the number of police officers that arrived as if a local match between famous teams was taking place. Following pressure and verbal threats from the local authorities, we accepted the housing they proposed without knowing the exact location and the condition they were in.

It was at that moment I realised that thirty other families including myself were not on the same list as our “blessed” neighbours, who had been allocated a “roof“ above their heads. We were taken to the location by bus and presented with a twenty square metres lot destined for housing construction. The local authorities verbally gave us the consent for construction and promised they would provide us with some help (labour force, building materials). In the end, we received ten planks and two beams per family. Abandoned on a freezing cold at -20 degrees [Celsius], we all felt not only the extremely cold air, but also a sentiment that cannot be described in words. Two years on, we are still left with ten planks and two beams and the same feelings we had on 17 December 2010.

From the thirty families which received twenty sq. m. lot, only some families managed to build a house without help from the mayor’s office, who did not stick to the promise to provide us with an official document for the received lot, that would indicate our legal status and would allow us to install the necessary utilities (water, electricity), or and to apply for an identity card at this address.

Following our relocation in the vicinity of the garbage dump and the former chemical waste dump, we can barely breathe in the mornings and evenings, and we risk developing diseases. The lives of the children and adults are at risk. A few people living in the New Pata Rât are already ill.

Added to this is the loss of employment, family doctors, access to public transport, decent living standards, loss of dignity and self-confidence. Still, we see adverts and various campaigns about the social integration of the Roma. We would like to take this opportunity to “thank” the local authorities for their help in our segregation and marginalisation.

We were already socially integrated when living in Coastei Street, we used to have jobs, the children went to high school, we had decent living standards, we had access to the park, etc. Here, by the garbage dump, we feel like in a ghetto, we feel discriminated against from all points of view”.

Posted in International Organizations, Racial Discrimination, Slums/Housing | 2 Comments

  1. Mark Power says:

    I wonder what sort of intervention the government would allow. Perhaps someone with an extra home (they rarely even visit) could trade it for 30… Food for thought.

  2. Catrinel Motoc says:

    Sprijiniti apelul pentru dreptate pentru comunitatea de romi evacuata fortat de pe strada Coastei – http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/Coastei-Street

    A trecut mai mult de un an de cand 76 de familii, majoritatea de etnie rom, au fost evacuate fortat din centrul orasului Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Mai mult de jumatate din familii au fost relocate in case modulare la marginea orasului, in zona Noul Pata Rat, in conditii de locuit neadecvate, aproape de groapa de gunoi a orasului si o fosta groapa pentru deseuri medicale. Camerele sunt suprapopulate, nu ofera protectia necesara impotriva umezelii si mucegaiului, iar grupurile sanitare sunt neadecvate. La 36 de familii, inclusiv autorii blog-ului de mai jos, nu le-a fost oferita o locuinta alternativa. Majoritatea dintre familii au trebuit sa isi construiasca case improvizate. Nu au acces la apa, la grupuri sanitare sau electricitate. Avand doar un acord verbal din partea autoritatilor locale si nici un titlu pe teren, traiesc cu frica de a fi evacuati oricand si de a-si pierde casele din nou. Doi tineri de etnie rom care au trait evacuarea fortata ne-au impartasit povestea lor in timpul recentei misiuni a delegatiei Amnesty International in Cluj-Napoca.

    „In data de 15 decembrie 2010 au inceput procedurile de evacuare fortata de pe strada Coastei 18. Dorim sa fim cat mai scurti in descrierea evenimentului traumatizant petrecut in intervalul 15-17 Decembrie 2010.

    In data de 15 dimineata la ora 06:00 am fost treziti de batai repetate in usa, de Politia Comunitara insotita de Politia de Ordine Publica si Jandarmi. Acestia din urma ne-au comunicat faptul ca vom primi locuinte sociale si pentru asta trebuia sa ne prezentam la Primaria de cartier pentru a fi inregistrati.

    In data de 16 Decembrie o patrula a Politiei Comunitare care se plimba pe strada Coastei anunta la microfon catastrofa ce avea sa urmeze in urmatoarea zi. Cu totii am petrecut noaptea foarte ingrijorati si speriati nestiind ce avea sa se intample cu noi.

    Dimineata la prima ora forte impresionante ale fortelor de ordine au ajuns pe strada Coastei, insotite de autoritatile locale.Am fost coplesiti si terifiati de multimea jandarmilor stransi parca urma sa aiba loc un celebru derby local. Dupa anumite presiuni si amenintari verbale ale autoritatilor locale am acceptat locuintele fara a cunoaste locatia si conditiile acestora.

    Tot atunci am constatat ca eu si inca 30 de familii nu figuram pe lista „preafericitilor” nostri vecini care au primit un acoperis deasupra capului.Adusi la fata locului de un autobuz, ne-a fost prezentata parcela de 20 mp pentru construirea unor locuinte, am primit de la dansii acordul verbal de constructie si promisiunea unor ajutoare (forta de munca, materiale de constructie). In cele din urma am primit cate 10 scanduri si 2 grinzi de familie. Parasiti pe un ger la -20 de grade am simtit cu totii pe langa gerul aspru ce iti taia respiratia, un sentiment ce nu poate fi descris in cuvinte. Acum dupa aproape doi ani am ramas tot cu 10 scanduri si 2 grinzi si cu aceleasi sentimente din data de 17 decembrie 2010.

    Dintre cele 30 de familii care au primit câte o parcelă de 20 mp doar 12 familii au reuşit să-şi construiască casa fară ajutorul primăriei care nu s-a ţinut de promisiunea de a ne da un act pe parcela primită de la ei pentru a putea sta legal sau să ne putem pune utilitătile necesare (apă, lumină) sau a ne face buletin cu adresă.

    În urma mutării langă groapa de gunoi si langa groapa cu deşeuri faramaceutice aerul fiind greu de respirat dimineaţa şi seara, riscăm să ne imbolnăvim , viata copiilor si adultilor fiind in pericol.Cativa locuitori din colonia noua fiind deja bolnavi.
    La acestea se adauga pierderea locurilor de munca, a medicilor de familie, a mijloacelor de transport ,a traiului decent, a demnitatii si increderii in sine. Totusi vedem spoturi publicitare si diferite campanii despre integrarea romilor in societate.Le multumim pe aceasta cale autoritatilor locale pentru sprijinul acordat in segregarea si marginalizarea noastra.

    Cand locuiam pe strada Coastei deja reusisem sa fim integrati in societate, aveam locuri de munca, copiii mergeau la liceu,traiam cat decat decent, aveam acces la parc, etc. Aici langa groapa de gunoi traim ca intru-un ghetou, ne simtim discriminati din toate punctele de vedere”.

    Autori: Creta Ernest & Fekete Petru

    In data de 16 Decembrie o patrula a Politiei Comunitare care se plimba pe strada Coastei anunta la microfon catastrofa ce avea sa urmeze in urmatoarea zi. Cu totii am petrecut noaptea foarte ingrijorati si speriati nestiind ce avea sa se intample cu noi.

    Dimineata la prima ora forte impresionante ale fortelor de ordine au ajuns pe strada Coastei, insotite de autoritatile locale.Am fost coplesiti si terifiati de multimea jandarmilor stransi parca urma sa aiba loc un celebru derby local. Dupa anumite presiuni si amenintari verbale ale autoritatilor locale am acceptat locuintele fara a cunoaste locatia si conditiile acestora.

    Tot atunci am constatat ca eu si inca 30 de familii nu figuram pe lista „preafericitilor” nostri vecini care au primit un acoperis deasupra capului.Adusi la fata locului de un autobuz, ne-a fost prezentata parcela de 20 mp pentru construirea unor locuinte, am primit de la dansii acordul verbal de constructie si promisiunea unor ajutoare (forta de munca, materiale de constructie). In cele din urma am primit cate 10 scanduri si 2 grinzi de familie. Parasiti pe un ger la -20 de grade am simtit cu totii pe langa gerul aspru ce iti taia respiratia, un sentiment ce nu poate fi descris in cuvinte. Acum dupa aproape doi ani am ramas tot cu 10 scanduri si 2 grinzi si cu aceleasi sentimente din data de 17 decembrie 2010.

    Dintre cele 30 de familii care au primit câte o parcelă de 20 mp doar 12 familii au reuşit să-şi construiască casa fară ajutorul primăriei care nu s-a ţinut de promisiunea de a ne da un act pe parcela primită de la ei pentru a putea sta legal sau să ne putem pune utilitătile necesare (apă, lumină) sau a ne face buletin cu adresă.

    În urma mutării langă groapa de gunoi si langa groapa cu deşeuri faramaceutice aerul fiind greu de respirat dimineaţa şi seara, riscăm să ne imbolnăvim , viata copiilor si adultilor fiind in pericol.Cativa locuitori din colonia noua fiind deja bolnavi.
    La acestea se adauga pierderea locurilor de munca, a medicilor de familie, a mijloacelor de transport ,a traiului decent, a demnitatii si increderii in sine. Totusi vedem spoturi publicitare si diferite campanii despre integrarea romilor in societate.Le multumim pe aceasta cale autoritatilor locale pentru sprijinul acordat in segregarea si marginalizarea noastra.

    Cand locuiam pe strada Coastei deja reusisem sa fim integrati in societate, aveam locuri de munca, copiii mergeau la liceu,traiam cat decat decent, aveam acces la parc, etc. Aici langa groapa de gunoi traim ca intru-un ghetou, ne simtim discriminati din toate punctele de vedere.

    Creta Ernest & Fekete Petru

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