The Court of Appeal in Romania has confirmed the previous judgment of the Constanța Tribunal and ruled that the Mayor of Eforie and the Administrative Territorial Unit of Eforie must pay a sum of approximately €36,000 to each Romani person evicted from Agricola Street in 2013, as well as provide social housing for each family. There are twelve people represented in the case, meaning the total cost to the Eforie authorities (minus the housing costs) will be approximately €432,000.
The ruling backdates the compensation due to the families by adding a €20 per person per day penalty for every day the people were left homeless since 11th April 2017 (the date when the judgment had to be implemented by). The case was brought by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) and RomaJust, and the eviction judged to be illegal by the first instance court.
“This is a great achievement for this Romani community, and an important message to send to those who forcefully evict other Roma in Romania and across Europe” said the President of the ERRC, Đorđe Jovanović.
The eviction occurred on 27th September 2013, targeting a Romani community living on Agricola Street in some 22 houses who had been living there for 40 years. It was carried out by around 80 police officers accompanied by municipality workers and bulldozers, under the direct supervision of the Deputy Mayor of Eforie who attended the eviction. Over 100 people, including 55 children, were made homeless when their homes were destroyed without consultation or provision of adequate alternative housing. Local media reported that the Deputy Mayor was heard threatening resisting Roma, saying “if you don’t come out, we’re going to kill you here.”
In the days that followed, the evicted people had to live outdoors in temporary shelters until some could eventually take refuge in an abandoned school building without windows or electricity. Others were housed in an equally grim disused dormitory. Some of these people were evicted a second time in July 2014 by the Deputy Mayor and relocated to shipping containers out of the city. These containers were too small to house all members of the families and had inadequate access to basic facilities. The rest of the families received no accommodation of any kind.
After another attempted eviction of the Roma from container housing was halted by the European Court of Human Rights in March 2016, the original eviction was finally judged to be illegal and discriminatory on 1st June 2016 in a case brought by the ERRC.
The recent judgment concerning the lack of implementation by authorities is final.
This press release is also available in Romanian.
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