NEW APPEAL FOR SOLIDARITY AND ACTION
against the residential segregation of Roma
Cluj, 8th of April 2011
Civic Organizations Working Group (Gloc, www.gloc.ro) was established at the initiative of the Amara Prhala Association and Desire Foundation from Cluj after the public debate form the 17th of January, and the street protest on the 19th in the same month in 2011. These events brought to public attention the phenomenon of residential segregation and forced evictions of Roma people in the city. More than 15 civic organizations and many academics have united in order to find short, medium and long term solutions to the territorial segregation manifested recently (December2010), the relocation of families from the Coastei street near the city landfill.
After nearly four months after the relocation of the Roma community from the Coastei street to Pata Rat in modular homes, approximately 30 families were left homeless after their discharge in winter they stay at their relatives ‘social houses’ built by the Cluj City Hall next to the garbage dump near the city. More than 250 people still live in the 40 rooms of 18 square meters each, in the 10 modular homes, and using 10 baths of six square meters each. Since then, many have renovated the rooms, because after a month, dampness appeared on the apartment’s walls, under the linoleum soil water appeared, and cracks on the ceiling appeared, through which moisture penetrates. „And even animals are protected better, there are better sheds made” says a 58 years old woman.
The poor quality of the building design or execution of these houses seriously affects human health, adding to other factors, which marked their living conditions inhumane and shameful for the human condition, such as environmental toxicity due to the proximity to the landfill and chemical waste station; distance of 5 kilometers to the nearest bus station, stigmatization of people by placing them near to the landfill, the marginalization of previously integrated community in the city in a remote area, hinder access to schools,employment and active participation in the city life.
In the months in which various forums of the European Union adopted a framework strategy on Roma, and the European officials promote among public authorities integrated housing projects, for the International Day of Roma, the Civic Organizations Working Group(Gloc) pulls an alarm signal about: dramatic social consequences of the creation of a poverty ghetto next to the landfill of the city, through the administrative measures of the City Hall, endangering the health and social inclusion of Roma by moving them into houses built with public money, failure to provide shelter for many families evicted in winter, keeping families unsafe from Cantonului Street, also subject to the risk of being deported quickly, not solving the situation of Roma people who live and work in the landfill for several decades. .
The International Day of Roma, Gloc makes an appeal to the residents of Cluj and to the local authorities for solidarity actions against residential segregation and to ensure dignified living conditions for every citizen of the city regardless of ethnicity and social status. Multicultural Cluj, the city that aspires to be the European Cultural city in 2020, cannot tolerate racist attitudes and practices as expressed by a woman in the community: „As we would be taken like animals and would be placed on a farm, or they said, they are gypsies, it is good that we got rid of them.”
Those wishing to support the cause of Gloc „Together, we can succeed, sustained in the frame of the International Marathon held in Cluj on the 10th of April 2011, can register as sponsors on the website of the Community Foundation Cluj
(http://www.fundatiacomunitaracluj.ro/pagina.php?idtemplate=1253&limba =), or donate directly.
Gloc campaigns and actions will continue in the upcoming months.