OuestFrance is the latest French news services to publish a special report on the plight of Roma communities in Romania. Similarly to a previous article in Le Progrès, a reporter was sent to Romania, this time to Craiova, to speak to members of the the town’s Roma community and experience first hand the conditions in which they live. The OuestFrance reporter Marc Marhuzier described going to an industrial area on the outskirts of Craiova, where he met families living in a disused military barracks. Marhuzier’s description is depressingly familiar; people living in squalid conditions without water or electricity supply, under the threat of looming eviction. The levels of poverty are likened to Africa.
The families interviewed talked of institutionalized prejudice – separate schooling or flat refusal by schools to take Roma children and hospitals keeping Roma patients waiting until they give up and leave. On the question of employment, the people spoken to claimed they wanted to work, but were rarely given the chance. Ioana, aged 27, had a street sweeping job, but explained to the French journalist that when the local council made cutbacks, she was one of the first to lose her job. “It’s always the Roma who are made redundant first,” she said.
When asked about France, a simple yet disturbing fact was revealed. Despite the deportations, living in temporary camps in France is better than life in Romania. The Roma viewed the French as friendly and tolerant and France as “Eldorado.” According to OuestFrance “they leave because [in Romania] life is without hope… when they return they have one thought: to leave again.”
Read the OuestFrance article (in French).
Liam Lever, email@example.com
photo source: amnesty international