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FORCED EVICTION AND DEMOLITION OF ROMA CAMP IN WROCŁAW (POLAND)

On Tuesday, 22 July an illegal demolition of Roma Camp took place in Wroclaw. The camp existed for 7 years.

Roma family house remains (picture: Dawid Krawczyk)

Press releases available in polish language:

http://www.krytykapolityczna.pl/artykuly/kraj/20150723/krawczyk-czy-nie-widzicie-ze-tu-mieszkaja-ludzie-reportaz  
http://wroclaw.gazeta.pl/wroclaw/1,35771,18406867,miasto-zlikwidowalo-koczowisko-uporzadkowalismy-teren.html#BoxLokWrocImg 
http://wroclaw.doba.pl/artykul/koparki-zniszczyly-romskie-baraki-przy-paprotnej-bez-uprzedzenia-foto-/6058/15 

http://www.prw.pl/articles/view/44047/Koparki-wjechaly-na-romskie-koczowisko-przy-Marino#prettyPhoto  http://wroclaw.gazeta.pl/wroclaw/1,35771,18406867,miasto-zlikwidowalo-koczowisko-uporzadkowalismy-teren.html 
http://www.gazetawroclawska.pl/artykul/4601923,miasto-zrownalo-z-ziemia-romskie-koczowisko-przy-marino-zdjecia,id,t.html 
http://www.tvn24.pl/wroclaw,44/we-wroclawiu-zlikwidowano-romskie-koczowisko,562510.html
http://natemat.pl/149423,wroclaw-zlikwidowal-romskie-koczowisko-na-dzialke-wjechal-ciezki-sprzet

At the time of the demolition 10 people, including 5 children resided permanently in the camp. Other family members (around 10 persons) were temporarily away working in another city. As every day, on July 22nd the residents had left their homes at around 10am and went to the city center. On the site they had left the dogs to guard their belongings.

At around 1 pm the municipal police appeared, fenced the area and banned anyone from entry. The official note stated that the area “was secured by the Municipal Green Services”. Private sanitation company Trans-formers began the demolition. 6 houses were destroyed together with all the belongings including: children's birth certificates and IDs, two cooking and heating stoves, kitchen appliances, dishes, furniture, bedding, a TV set, mobile phone, battery, alternator, food and 2000 Polish zloty.

The incident was reported at 3 pm by local media. NOMADA Association contacted the victim family and told them about the demolition of their homes. When the family arrived at the scene the persons representing the public services refused to provide them with explanation.

They did not receive information about the reason for the demolition, who issued the decision, and where their belongings were. Representatives of the municipal social welfare center informed them about the possibility to move in to the center for homeless families. The family did not accept the offer, explaining they did not want help from people who had just destroyed their house. NOMADA Association called the police. Police patrol arrived at the scene about 4 pm and collected information about the incident. NOMADA filed the suspicion of crime being committed.

It has not been established what happened to the belongings of the victims. Later on the same day NOMADA managed to find them at the dumpster near Wroclaw (available photographic documentation). Unfortunately, almost nothing could be recovered (except medication belonging to one person).

NOMADA informed the family about their rights and assisted them with passing the evidence to the police.                                                  

http://m.wroclaw.gazeta.pl/wroclaw/1,106542,18414124,likwidacja-koczowiska-nielegalna-ale-zabiora-sie-za-kolejne.html 
http://wroclaw.tvp.pl/20999405/we-wroclawiu-zlikwidowano-romskie-koczowisko 
  

On July 23 NOMADA Association issued a statement on the demolition of the Roma settlement:
http://roma.nomada.info.pl/en/newsy-english/201-statement-by-nomada-association-on-the-demolition-of-the-roma-settlement-in-wroclaw 

The incident was widely reported in the media. As a result, the next day a spokesperson of the City Mayor Office invited NOMADA to a meeting. The meeting took place on Friday, 24th July. On behalf of the city it was attended by the director of the social affairs department Jacek Sutryk, a representative of the city legal department Dżedzyk, the director of the municipal social assistance center Anna Józefiak Materna and several other officials. The city mayor, Rafal Dutkiewicz did not attend the meeting.

The representatives of the city authorities claimed that the demolition was carried out according to legal procedures. They insisted that NOMADA and the camp residents had been informed about the planned action. The family claimed that they were not given any notice. NOMADA also did not receive any notification.  The city authorities called the illegal demolition “dismantling of abandoned estate”. They also announced the plans to demolish the larger camp located on Kamieńskiego Street. When asked about alternative housing for the residents the authorities contended that they would deal with this issue but failed to provide any details. The lack of communication makes the collaboration between NOMADA and the city authorities impossible.                                                              

On Monday, 27 July,  the Government's Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment  Professor Małgorzata Fuszara visited NOMADA’s office. Afterwards, assisted by NOMADA team, she visited Roma residing on Kamieńskiego Street. She talked with the inhabitants and the victims of the illegal demolition 

http://rownetraktowanie.gov.pl/aktualnosci/pelnomocniczka-rzadu-ds-rownego-traktowania-na-osiedlu-rumunskich-romow-we-wroclawiu   

 

Government's Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment  Professor Małgorzata Fuszara visiting Roma Camp

On the same day Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz was present in Wrocław. Representatives of NGOs, social activists and members of the Roma community presented her with the letter. The letter described the incident and requested an official position on the issue.

picture: Radosław Stoliński

http://roma.nomada.info.pl/newsy-pl/207-list-do-premier-rzadu-ewy-kopacz

http://www.krytykapolityczna.pl/artykuly/opinie/20150728/list-nomady-do-ewy-kopacz 

The Prime Minister ensured that an expert meeting concerning the issue will be held. The statement was reported by major national media.
http://www.tvp.info/21008697/romowie-kontra-premier-kopacz-zyja-w-wolnym-kraju-niech-krzycza-niech-wytykaja-premierowi-i-ministrom

http://www.tvn24.pl/wideo/z-anteny/kto-zaklocil-spotkanie-premier-kopacz,1445898.html?playlist_id=18702

 

Prime Minister Ewa Koacz holding the letter (picture: Dawid Krawczyk)

Amnesty International, OSCE, European Roma Rights Centre and the European Commission were informed about the situation. Helsinki Human Rights Foundation offered its support.

NOMADA Association issued a petition addressed to the City Mayor Rafał Dutkiewicz to stop illegal demolitions of Roma settlements and to introduce a local migration strategy.

https://secure.avaaz.org/pl/petition/Petition_to_the_President_of_Wroclaw_STOP_THE_DEMOLITIONS_We_demand_local_migration_policies_in_Wroclaw/?scuxabb 

Polish Ombudsman Professor Irena Lipowicz criticized Wrocław's authorities and addressed the conflicting relationship between central ministries and local authorities 

http://www.tokfm.pl/Tokfm/1,145400,18446236,prof-lipowicz-o-usunieciu-koczowiska-romow-wroclaw-zrobi.html 

A meeting between governmental representatives regarding the situation of Roma migrants in Poland is to take place on Monday, 3 August in Warsaw. NOMADA and members of Roma community have also been invited.

On Thursday 30 July Ombudsman stated that the local authorities in Wrocław violated the law by not informing the Ombudsman about liquidation: 

http://wroclaw.gazeta.pl/wroclaw/1,35771,18461761,rpo-pisze-do-dutkiewicza-w-sprawie-romow-magistrat-zlamal-prawo.html

More information on the situation of Romanian Roma in Wrocław is available in the report by NOMADA

http://roma.nomada.info.pl/images/RAPORT/Report_NOMADA_Roma_December_2014_net.pdf 

!WATCH! ROMANIAN ROMA DEMONSTRATION AND MEETING WITH POLISH PRIME MINISTER EWA KOPACZ:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWA8kxJpbys

The second settlement in Wroclaw located on Kamieńskiego Street has similar legal status to the demolished one on Paprotna Street. However, in regards to Kamieńskiego settlement there is pending eviction process filed against the residents.

However, the city authorities want to implement similar solution as in the case of Paprotna settlement, which could lead to further demolitions and violation of basic human rights by the authorities.



 

Petition to the Mayor of Wrocław (Poland): STOP THE DEMOLITIONS!!! We demand local migration policies

 

The Romanian Roma have been living in Poland for more than 20 years, unnoticed and largely ignored by the system. They do not have access to basic public goods including employment, health care, education and housing.


With the accession of Romania to the European Union, the Romanian Roma have the right to move freely across EU borders and legally reside in all Member States.

Extreme poverty and social exclusion, prevents Roma migrants from exercising their rights – fundamental rights that are consistently violated by the authorities.

On July 22nd in Wroclaw (the European Capital of Culture) the municipal emergency services unlawfully demolished houses inhabited by Romanian Roma family, de facto leading to their displacement.
On that day ten person family, including five children lost everything. The residents of the settlement were not informed about the demolition plans and did not have time to secure their belongings.
All their possessions were removed, together with identity documents and birth certificates. Despite clear signs that the plot was inhabited, the authorities claim that the area was abandoned and the houses were empty. The displaced family found collection of their things in two landfills on the outskirts of Wroclaw.

Currently there is another settlement inhabited by Romani families in Wroclaw. The authorities are implying that this area will also be cleared and liquidated.

On Monday, 27 July the Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment visited the existing settlement. In the evening of that same day, the Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz received a letter signed by NGOs demanding a clear position of the government on Roma migrants and establishment of a “round-table” to discuss current situation.

Moved by the events, the people have presented the Mayor of Wroclaw, Rafał Dutkiewicz, with a petition, demanding ceasing of demolitions and creation of local migration strategy in Wroclaw:

We the undersigned oppose the brutal demolition of Romani houses. We are appalled by the flagrant violation of human rights committed by the authorities of Wroclaw on 22 July 2015 when the emergency services demolished a house of Caldarar family located on Paprotna Street.

We are shocked by the termination of an inter-sectoral dialogue about status normalization
of Romani settlements. Painstaking progress made by non-governmental organizations, public institutions, volunteers and residents was shattered and construction law was placed above human rights.


We fear that the decision to demolish Romani settlement is a continuation of the operation lead by the magistrate, aimed at forcing the economic migrants out of Wrocław.

Following the legal suit, the time has come for drastic actions. This time they touched Caldarar family, but there is a real threat that the settlement on Kamieńskiego Street will also be demolished. Assimilation or deportation – this is the migration policy of
Wroclaw.

We demand the Mayor of Wroclaw Rafał Dutkiewicz to develop local migration policy, which will take into account the diversity of cultures. In our opinion, the advancement of such policy requires:

  • promotion
    and observance of human rights;

  • resumption
    of inter-sectoral dialogue;
  • development of comprehensive and
    long-term community programs, which will strive to include and
    integrate Roma into mainstream society;
  • involvement of Roma representatives in theplanning, implementation and monitoring of action plans/measures;
  • immediate suspension of actions aimed at liquidating Roma settlements

More information about Romanian Roma residing in Wrocław available here:
http://roma.nomada.info.pl/en/  
http://roma.nomada.info.pl/images/RAPORT/Report_NOMADA_Roma_December_2014_net.pdf 
http://roma.nomada.info.pl/images/RAPORT/romaraport_eng_final.pdf 

 

Petition is available here:

https://secure.avaaz.org/pl/petition/Petition_to_the_President_of_Wroclaw_STOP_THE_DEMOLITIONS_We_demand_local_migration_policies_in_Wroclaw/?nLbuDjb 

WROCLAW/POLAND Statement by Nomada Association on the demolition of the Roma settlement

On Wednesday, 22 July the demolition of 4 houses in the Roma settlement in Wroclaw took place.  The action was executed by emergency services following a decision by the District Construction Site Inspector in cooperation with the Municipal Guard.  The houses were demolished in the absence of the residents.  All the possessions were removed including personal documents, prescription medication, money, and one generator. In effect, several young children and their parents have become homeless. They found temporal refuge with their relatives living on Kamieńskiego Street.      

We do not understand this impulsive decision to liquidate the settlement and deprive families of their homes.  Such intimidating tactics stand in stark contrast to city’s commitments to engage in a meaningful dialog with grassroots organizations working with the affected Romanian Roma families.  The creation of working group inside the Lower Silesian Governor Office and the establishment of multi-sectoral team bringing together front-line workers, NGOs and activists were considered a good sign of progress.  However, today’s events are not only a breach of trust but also demonstrate a deep lack of respect for all the persons involved and their efforts.  

In our view, Wroclaw’s authorities lack a political will and courage to propose sustainable and innovative measures for addressing the situation of the most vulnerable families.  The continuous use of coercion and oppression aggravates social conflict without providing any concrete solutions.  The filing of eviction lawsuit against the Romanian Roma, residing at Kamieńskiego Street, and the notorious harassment of Romanian Roma by the City Guard expose the continuous violation of basic human rights.  At the same time, the actions of municipal social care units often lack vision and understanding and thus are counterproductive.   

Regrettably the situation is similar in other Polish cities – demolition of homes already took place in Gdansk and Cracow and Roma families residing in Poznan are facing forced eviction.    

It appears that at this moment nobody is accountable for designing and implementing migration and integration policies.  While politicians at different tiers of government continue to quarrel about their mandates and responsibilities, grassroots organizations are actively providing daily assistance to the most marginalized groups.  Thanks to their efforts, last month children from Kamieńskiego Street for the first time in their lives collected final report cards.  

Migrants from Romania have been living in Poland for over twenty years.  Illegal evictions are not a solution and neither are propositions to lodge Roma families in centers with constant surveillance and security checks.  

NOMADA Association opposes actions promoted by Wroclaw authorities and will continue to support Roma families in their struggle for basic rights.

 

photographs by Adriana Boruszewska for doba.pl

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This project is addressed to 15 children and young Romanian Roma immigrants living in Poland who for the first time in their lives have gained access to school but are not covered by insurance. Sight,hearing and posture defects are only examples of obstacles hindering learning and preventing the children from the full participation in the educational process. The project's aim is to give them access to health services and to supervise the treatment.

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piknik

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AI

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On Saturday 20 April picnic took place in Roma koczowiska Street. Kamieńskiego in.

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