Europe is forcefully evicting Roma

The Roma people are a minority group that in many places in Europe lack access to adequate housing as well as basic conditions such as water and sanitation. Many Roma do not have access to economic and social rights such as education, housing, healthcare and employment. Roma face discrimination and they often live in exclusion and poverty in segregated areas where they are collectively exposed to forceful evictions. Amnesty International and European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) have in the last few years reported about forceful evictions in several European countries.

ERRC has documented that Roma in Turkey are victims of forceful evictions and complete demolition of housing areas in connection to urban development projects. The destruction of old Roma neighborhoods has been constant in the fast urbanization of Turkish cities during several decades. This kind of urban renewal and development projects result in gentrification, increased segregation and homelessness. According to Amnesty, in August 2015, three hundred Roma from Romania were evicted from the settlement “La Samaritain” in France and the vast majority ended up homeless. During the year 2016, 2 582 Roma have been evicted in different cities in France, which according to ERRC is about 300 people every week.

Amnesty reported that in Serbia fifty three Roma families from Kosovo risked forceful eviction from the Grmec settlement in Zemun during the summer 2015. The families risked having their homes destroyed because they did not have building permits, and no alternative residences were offered to them. The destruction of their homes was stopped in August and all families involved were promised alternative residences thanks to actions taken by the Human Rights organizations. A different scenario took place in Hungary’s fourth biggest city Miskolc where one hundred twenty Roma families were evicted during the spring 2015 in order to make place for a football stadium. The majority were not offered an alternative residence or monetary compensation. Forceful evictions of Roma people are also common in Italy and Romania as well as other European countries.

Several millions of people move every year because of different development and infrastructure projects in cities around the world. Forceful evictions are not in line with the international human rights conventions and they are inhumane because they often target poor people which are driven into homelessness without monetary compensation or an alternative residence. Access to education and healthcare become limited or denied when a group of people do not have a permanent and adequate residence. It is remarkable that this development has not received enough attention in the European media and that the states do not intervene nationally or regionally to prevent human rights violations in connection with the urban development projects.

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