Brussels: AI stages eviction of Romani settlement on International Romani Day
A “happening” portraying the forced eviction of a Romani settlement was staged yesterday in Brussels by the human rights organization Amnesty International (AI) in order to draw attention to the situation of Romani people in Europe. Yesterday the European Commission also emphasized that improving the situation of Romani people is one of the greatest challenges Europe faces.
AI convened the “happening” to commemorate International Romani Day in the public space in front of the European Parliament, where organizers erected a small Romani village. During the “happening”, which was viewed by many journalists and passers-by, actors playing police forces violently evicted the Romani inhabitants of the village.
"I am playing a Romani woman in this village," said Romani activist Amare Pose from the Czech Republic. "This is to show what's really going on, that we, as Romani people, are being displaced from the towns to the outskirts, and that this is happening to thousands of people in the Czech Republic and all of Europe.”
Pose studied acting, authorial creativity and pedagogy at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (DAMU) in Prague. In recent years she has focused on Romani activism. "My engagement is a response to what happened in Šluknov," she said.
Two other Romani women from Ostrava in the Czech Republic played roles in the “settlement”, Elena Gorolová, who works for the civic association Life Together (Vzájemné soužití), and Iveta Horváthová. "I experienced something similar myself, even though it wasn’t in this style," said Horváthová, who had to move out of an apartment on Přednádraží street in Ostrava. "I lost my housing because the Building Works Authority closed our building and we had to move out.”
Horváthová, a mother of nine, now has an apartment which Life Together helped her find. “Through them I got an apartment from the town, which had rejected all my requests before. I’m doing better, but the others aren’t. My son is still living on Přednádraží street, and my friends are living in residential hotels where the conditions are beyond unacceptable. I came here to fight so they can get better housing conditions and better educations for their children,” she said.
Yesterday the European Commission declared that improving the situation of the Romani peple is one of the greatest challenges we face in Europe. The Commission also stated that according to the World Bank, the full integration of Romani people would bring about half a billion euros annually to the economies of several countries by increasing labor productivity, reducing welfare expenditures, and increasing tax revenue. The Commission emphasized that Romani integration must not be considered a cost, but a social investment.
The Commission also announced that it will be publishing a report this summer on the fulfillment of the Member States’ National Strategies for Roma Integration and that it would “evaluate to what degree the Member States have followed the Commission’s recommendations”. According to AI, about six million Romani people live in the European Union and “experience constant discrimination in all aspects of life, including in education, health care, housing and seeking work”.
For a video clip from Belgian news coverage (in Flemish) of the “happening”, please see http://www.romea.cz/cz/zpravodajstvi/zahranicni/mezinarodni-den-romu-2013-ai-usporadala-v-bruselu-happening-o-vyklizeni-romske-osady
- Czech Republic's housing benefit rules are easier as of this month
- ERGO Network: Roma Week 2022 at the EP was the biggest meeting yet between EU politicians and Romani representatives
- Brno, Czech Republic: 50 people protest city's treatment of Romani refugees from Ukraine
- PHOTO GALLERY: Protesters create an "alley of shame" in front of Brno City Hall to protest city representatives' treatment of Romani refugees from Ukraine
- Czech city to raze apartment buildings where local council briefly fenced off Romani residents from view after their non-Romani neighbors complained
- Romani organizer from North Macedonia discusses democracy with Barack Obama at Copenhagen Democracy Summit
- Czech capital sees workshop on Romani history with academics from all over the world
- Czech firefighters erect another "tent city" for refugees in the Malešice neighborhood of Prague
- Czech analyst compares disinformation purveyors to the untrustworthy sellers of overpriced cookware
- Open Society Foundations pledges to invest in new European Roma Foundation for 2023
- NGO director in Czech Republic says politicians' rhetoric about "inadaptable" Roma is dangerous, some non-Roma refugees from Ukraine are reportedly aggressive toward local Roma here
- Slovak MEP of Romani origin Peter Pollák: It is incomprehensible that the Czech Republic is unable to help a few hundred Romani refugees from Ukraine at the Prague railway station