As faith leaders in the UK, we would like to ask you as a matter of urgency to prevent further forced evictions of the Roma communities in Cluj-Napoca, the Romanian city for which you are mayor. We are also urging you to take immediate measures to secure the right to adequate housing and remedies for the Roma families who have been forcibly evicted from the Coastei Street in December 2010 and relocated to the outskirts of the town in inadequate housing conditions.
Across Europe, all too frequently Roma have become victims of segregated education systems and are treated as second-class citizens. They are often victims of repeated forced evictions, being moved from their homes without adequate compensation and genuine consultation, and in some cases left homeless.
In June 2013, Amnesty International published a report, Pushed to the margins: Five stories of Roma forced evictions in Romania highlighting the cases of four Roma women and one man who have experienced forced evictions, including two cases from Cluj-Napoca.
Claudia has lived for almost 20 years on Coastei Street in Cluj-Napoca. She was forcibly evicted from her home by the local authorities in 2010 and relocated to Pata RÃ¢t, an area on the outskirts of your city, distant from basic services such as public transport, education, health-care and employment opportunities. Pata RÃ¢t is an area known for its landfill and a former chemical waste dump. Claudia’s new accommodation consisted of one small room that she shared with her family, her parents and her brother’s family â€“ all 11 of them.
She was given very little notice prior to the eviction and was not genuinely consulted. She is among the 76 families, the majority Roma, who were forcibly evicted and relocated to Pata RÃ¢t. However, while 40 of the evicted families received a small room of 16 â€“ 18 square metres, like Claudia, 36 other families were left homeless and were told to “build something” on the land next to the housing units. Three years later, all 76 families are still seeking justice for the human rights violations they have suffered.
Claudia’s forced eviction happened while you were Prime Minister and before you were re-elected as the city’s mayor.
As a man of faith yourself, we urge you to realise the lack of humanity in these actions and take steps to rebuild relationships with the Roma community in your city, ensuring that every citizen of Cluj-Napoca can benefit from their right to adequate housing and be protected against forced evictions.
We call on you to ensure that those who were subjected to forced evictions have access to remedies and reparations, including relocation to alternative adequate housing. And that you take steps to ensure forced evictions are made illegal in the national legislation, in accordance with international and regional human rights standards and treaties that Romania has ratified or otherwise agreed to adhere to.
Rabbi Thomas Salamon, Westminster Synagogue
Rabbi Helen Freeman
Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, Senior Rabbi, Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue
Rabbi Lea MÃ¼hlstein, Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue
Rabbi Dr. Margaret Jacobi, Birmingham Progressive Synagogue
Rabbi Janet Burden, Ealing Liberal Synagogue
Dr David Herling, Vice-Chairman, Chatham Memorial Synagogue
Gabriel Lancaster MBE, Honorary Life President, Chatham Memorial Synagogue
Rabbi Ariel J Friedlander
Rabbi Barbara Borts
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi Masorti Judaism UK
The Rt Revd David Walker, Bishop of Manchester
The Rt Revd Mike Hill, Bishop of Bristol
John Rawsthorne, Bishop of Hallam
The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury
Sanjay Jagatia, Director/General Secretary Hindu Council UK
Rev. Dr. Brendan Killeen, Saints Francis and Therese Church
The Rt Revd Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness
The Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, Bishop of St. Albans
The Most Reverend Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales and Bishop of Llandaff
Lord Singh CBE, Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations
The Rt. Reverend John Davies, Bishop of Swansea & Brecon
Alan Ramsay, Rev. Canon
FulL Story: The Telegraph:
Hindu Council UK (HCUK)