Roma families re-located to buildings of a disused chemical factory
Nils Muižnieks, European Commissioner for Human Rights, is urging authorities in the Romanian city of Baia Mare to rehouse 300 Roma families who were re-located to buildings of a disused chemical factory.
Receiving reports that 22 children and two adults have already been hospitalized after exposure with toxic substances, Commissioner Muižnieks has called on the Mayor of Baia Mare to ensure that the families are provided with a new home where there is no threat for their health and where they are not segregated from the majority population.
The Commissioner has said, “The relocation into the former chemical factory buildings is clearly not an adequate, alternative housing solution”, and an investigation must be conducted. Housing families in a disused chemical factory not only is life-threatening, but it also breaches housing rights.
Stressing that relocation should be done in consultation with the people concerned, the Commissioner urges that the Roma families be provided with reparation.
This isn’t the first time Roma families, sometimes pejoratively referred to as "Gypsies", have been relocated to inadequate housing solutions. In 2004, around 75 Roma people started living in metal cabins next to a sewage plant. While Romanian law stipulates that people should not live within 300 meters of potential toxic hazards, the Roma families are living well within this danger zone.