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Roma families face strong discrimination in Miercurea Ciuc (Romania)

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

We recently visited Miercurea Ciuc in Harghita county (known as Csikszereda in Hungarian) in Romania to meet the local Roma community and local activist Orsolya Csata. Orsolya and Andor work together in the Right Association which supports the Roma community in this city. We spent some time with Roma children from the community and to discuss with Orsolya some future plans.

Some important context:

  • Part of the Roma community faced a tragic fire in January 2021 which left many families in the settlement homeless. For almost 2 years they were accommodated in the Eros Zsolt sport centre where, in the first months, they received some great support from the municipality, local residents, NGOs, etc.

  • The local authority received a significant amount of national funds (4.4 million lei, close to 1 million euros) to provide social housing and other necessary services for the families.

  • Although the families and activists asked for decent housing, the local authorities decided to purchase metal truck containers (previously used to transport goods, food, etc) in november 2022. These were slightly refurbished to provide access to water and sewage. The families pay rent to live there. But the conditions – as you can see in the pictures below – are far from meeting minimum quality requirements.

In our view, the provision of these low-quality accommodation violates the human rights of these families. That is why Rights Association submitted in April a complaint to the Romanian ombudsman and the National Anti-Discrimination Council (CNCD, we expect a response by the end of this year).

So, what is happening now?

Families who live in these containers face significant difficulties with the insulation, so furniture and other goods have been quickly damaged (e.g. mold). The families have been informed by the local authorities that these containers are temporary, so they might lose this accommodation in the future.

On the other hand, Orsolya organises excellent sport activities for the children in the settlement. She has organised running, swimming (and soon skiing) for the children. If you’re interested to find out more, join this facebook group:

What’s next?

➡ We will continue to fight for better housing conditions, which should not be segregated but fully integrated in the city.

➡ Unfortunately, Roma children also attend segregated schools which results in low quality education. We also aim to redirect these children to inclusive and quality schools in the city.

➡ Children need some additional support to improve their education performance, so conditions for afternoon schooling services (music, sport, chess, arts, etc) should be established.


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