Jun 13 2012
Persecution of minorities still happening in Europe
One of the main reasons for creating the European Union (EU) was to ensure that as a result of the intertwining of trade and economies there would never again be a World War started as the result of disputes between Germany and France.
A further benefit of the negotiated peace was the signing of the Declaration of Human Rights guaranteeing individual rights – ‘never again’ should there be persecution of individuals or groups within the European Union’.
Unfortunately persecution of individuals and a specific group still goes on today within the European Union. The European Association for the Defence of Human Rights (AEDH) has recently reported on the forced rehousing of 2,000 Romanian Roma to an old highly toxic chemical plant.
According to the report Roma in the Craica and Pirita quarters in Baia Mare, situated in the North-West of Romania, have had their housing threatened by demolition since April 2012, and were forcefully evicted in early June. The town authorities relocated them to an old CUPROM works (a Romanian company dealing in processing ferrous metals), where the old laboratory floors are still strewn with chemical waste.
Relocating the Roma to this space is a serious violation of the right to housing. An old chemical plant is not equipped with the installations necessary to provide an adequate living space, and is extremely dangerous in regards to the health of its inhabitants.
AEDH has also revealed that the Roma were not consulted during the relocation process: self-appointed ‘Roma representatives’ negotiated the eviction with authorities, using threats and intimidation to force the families into signing agreements. At no point were the Roma families made aware of expected rehousing conditions.
The Romanian authorities must cease all forced evictions of the Roma, and also put forward suitable rehousing alternatives for the evicted families.
AEDH have called on the European Commission, the European Parliament and citizens to intervene with the Romanian government so that these members of the Roma community may be rehoused in accordance with their rights and dignity.
I believe that the European Parliament will be more than willing to participate in the condemnation of the Romanian authorities as should every European Citizen – never again should we have persecution of individuals or groups within the European Union.