On Monday, 4th of August 2014, the authorities of the city of Gdansk, have evicted (15) Romanian Roma migrants from a site located on the former allotment gardens in the district of Jelitkowo/Zabianka. In the process five barracks constructed by the Roma from recycled material were demolished. Given that the land belongs to the municipality of Gdansk, and the residents have not acquired building permits, their presence was described as illegal occupation of public property. The Roma were present on the site for about 3 years. As a result of city’s actions fifteen persons were left homeless, including five children and one pregnant woman.
On 2nd of August 2014, the Roma residents were informed by the municipal guards, that they are required to leave the occupied site. The following day, 4th of August 2014, six police officer and three municipal guards arrived on the site ordering the adult residents to awaken the children, pack all the necessary belongings and leave the site immediately.
Demolition of barracks commenced at early morning. It was carried out by individuals hired by the Administration of Municipal Property in the framework of the ‘work-off’ debt programmed that offer work opportunities for indebted clients of Polish social housing. The Roma residents were given 30 minutes to pack up. In such a short time, they were not able to collect all their possessions (an assessment of the value of lost goods will be prepared). According to the testimony of the Roma, the officials instructed them to: "Get out, move to another city." They were informed that any uncollected items from the site will be removed by the city on their cost, valued at 3 000,00 PLN (approximately 750,00 Euro).
It is important to note that during the course of eviction, the Roma were informed that the status of ownership of the site had changed. It appears that the Roma were deliberately erroneously informed that the land was purchased by a citizen of France, as there is no evidence of such acquisition. Moreover no legal basis for the eviction and barracks demolishing was provided to the affected persons. The residents attested that they did not receive any notice or written statement requiring them to leave the site. When contacted by Amnesty International the city officials explained that eviction was undertaken in order to clean-up and secure the site.
Under current Polish administrative law, such action is considered unlawful. The Office of Amnesty International in Poland intervened in this case, asking the Mayor of Gdansk, Mr. Pawel Adamowicz, to explain and rationalize the incident. Nomada Association for Multicultural Society Integration published a statement criticizing the actions of local authorities and expressing strong disapproval with such unlawful conduct:
“By expressing our opinion, we would like to condemn and stop forced and illegal evictions that continue to take place in our country. In this fashion, we aim to protest against the harassment of minority and migrant communities”.
On the 12th of August 2014, Nomad Association sent a notification of Suspected Committed Crime to the Prosecutor's Office in Gdansk. In Nomada’s opinion, the action taken against the Romanian Roma is inadmissible and discriminatory. It is an expression of violence and unlawful threats, as well as a violation of the domestic peace. The abuse of authority by police officers and destruction of property are against the human rights.
Nomada hopes that the above-described situation will meet the immediate reaction of the responsible authorities and erroneous decisions will be corrected immediately. It also counts on the intervention of human rights organizations in the country and abroad.
You could also ask the Prezydent of the City of Gdańsk:
Mr. Paweł Adamowicz
ul. Nowe Ogrody 8/12
80-803 Gdańsk, Poland
tel. : + 48 58 323 63 14