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In Pictures: No place for the Roma
Dozens of ethnic Roma were evicted from their homes and relocated in dingy abandoned buildings.
Last updated: 19 Feb 2014 11:22
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In September 2013, local authorities in Eforie Sud, a beach town in southeastern Romania, evicted 78 Roma from their houses.

Their homes had been illegally built on city property decades ago. The evictions caused the Roma living there to lose their livelihood: 33 children and 45 adults were left literally standing in the rain. The Romanian Ombudsman accused local authorities of ignoring relevant human rights legislation, and although the eviction itself was legal, the city failed to provide decent accommodation for the newly homeless families.

After public pressure from the Romanian media and several NGOs, the mayor, Ion Ovidiu Brailoiu, announced that living facilities had been set up in abandoned schools. Brailoiu had called the eviction a "long overdue cleanup operation, a problem that had been ignored for too long" and promises were made that the cleared land would be used to build housing units. 

But today, five months after the eviction, the 78 Roma continue to live in dire conditions. Local authorities have threatened to remove the families from these facilities in March, with no mention of alternative accommodation. 

The story in Eforie Sud is not an exception, but rather a symptom of a bigger problem in Romania and elsewhere in the European Union. In June 2012, for instance, 1,000 Roma from the city of Baia Mare were forcefully evicted from their homes and moved into a former chemical plant. Thirteen children and one adult suffered health problems as a result, and needed medical care. 

Around one million Roma live in Romania, often facing discrimination, lack of access to health care and education, high unemployment rates and public scorn.


/Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera

1    In September 2013, 78 Roma were evicted from city-owned land, their houses demolished. Ten Roma families found refuge in this old school, living in unsanitary conditions. According to statistics, approximately 34 percent of Roma live in sub-standard housing conditions and 1 percent live in squatter areas.



/Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera

Edie Suliman smokes a cigarette in her new "home", the abandoned school in Eforie Sud, Romania. Without any social welfare, she tried several times to get a job in public sanitation, but the authorities rejected her, because she has been fined several fines for illegal peddling. The unemployment rate among Roma is far higher than that of the average Romanian, and wages paid to Roma are often much less than those paid to Romanians in similar positions.



/Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera

Roma children in one of the back rooms improvised in the abandoned school in Eforie Sud. Since living here, Roma children have been falling ill more often. About 14 percent of Roma children suffer from chronic diseases or disabilities and 50 percent of Roma children do not have immunisation vaccines. 



/Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera

Roma children eat porridge in one of the rooms improvised in the abandoned school.



/Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera

Without heating, the Roma living in the abandoned school burn whatever they can in order to stay warm.



/Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera

A Roma woman feeds her young daughter in the old dormitory in which they found refuge. The mother says she barely has money to feed her child, so spending money for school supplies cannot be a priority.



/Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera

Four evicted families are now living on the field near where their former houses were located. The Romanian Ombudsman accused local authorities of breaching human rights regulations because they failed to provide the Roma community decent accommodation before demolishing their homes.



/Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera

A Roma child in one of the makeshift shelters. The room is no bigger than the bed, and lacks running water and heating. 



/Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera

A pregnant Roma woman cooks potatoes for her four children on a tin barrel she has fashioned into a stove.



/Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera

Emine remembers her old house, before being evicted. She now lives in the abandoned school. There is no electricity until 6 PM, and sometimes they use their mobile phones as a source of light.



/Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera

Because jobs are scarce, some search for and sell trash and plastic and glass bottles. Romanian president Traian Basescu was recently fined in court for saying, "A lot of Roma traditionally live off what they steal."



/Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera

Authorities have told the Roma community living in these facilities that they will be evicted again in March 2014, but have not offered any other housing options.



/Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera

According to 2011 census data, there are 622,000 Roma in Romania. But a survey conducted by NGO Romani Criss estimates the Roma population to be much higher, approximately 1,050,000.




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images:
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captions:

1    In September 2013, 78 Roma were evicted from city-owned land, their houses demolished. Ten Roma families found refuge in this old school, living in unsanitary conditions. According to statistics, approximately 34 percent of Roma live in sub-standard housing conditions and 1 percent live in squatter areas.

;*;

Edie Suliman smokes a cigarette in her new "home", the abandoned school in Eforie Sud, Romania. Without any social welfare, she tried several times to get a job in public sanitation, but the authorities rejected her, because she has been fined several fines for illegal peddling. The unemployment rate among Roma is far higher than that of the average Romanian, and wages paid to Roma are often much less than those paid to Romanians in similar positions.

;*;

Roma children in one of the back rooms improvised in the abandoned school in Eforie Sud. Since living here, Roma children have been falling ill more often. About 14 percent of Roma children suffer from chronic diseases or disabilities and 50 percent of Roma children do not have immunisation vaccines. 

;*;

Roma children eat porridge in one of the rooms improvised in the abandoned school.

;*;

Without heating, the Roma living in the abandoned school burn whatever they can in order to stay warm.

;*;

A Roma woman feeds her young daughter in the old dormitory in which they found refuge. The mother says she barely has money to feed her child, so spending money for school supplies cannot be a priority.

;*;

Four evicted families are now living on the field near where their former houses were located. The Romanian Ombudsman accused local authorities of breaching human rights regulations because they failed to provide the Roma community decent accommodation before demolishing their homes.

;*;

A Roma child in one of the makeshift shelters. The room is no bigger than the bed, and lacks running water and heating. 

;*;

A pregnant Roma woman cooks potatoes for her four children on a tin barrel she has fashioned into a stove.

;*;

Emine remembers her old house, before being evicted. She now lives in the abandoned school. There is no electricity until 6 PM, and sometimes they use their mobile phones as a source of light.

;*;

Because jobs are scarce, some search for and sell trash and plastic and glass bottles. Romanian president Traian Basescu was recently fined in court for saying, "A lot of Roma traditionally live off what they steal."

;*;

Authorities have told the Roma community living in these facilities that they will be evicted again in March 2014, but have not offered any other housing options.

;*;

According to 2011 census data, there are 622,000 Roma in Romania. But a survey conducted by NGO Romani Criss estimates the Roma population to be much higher, approximately 1,050,000.

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5574234ac7d0a6e7305be8e593ae2df1
Photographer:
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Image Source:
Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera;*;Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera;*;Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera;*;Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera;*;Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera;*;Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera;*;Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera;*;Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera;*;Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera;*;Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera;*;Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera;*;Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera;*;Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera;*;Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera;*;Ioana Moldovan/Al Jazeera
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