Inclusion or segregation?

Thanks to Google Alerts, I found my way to this article from Amnesty International’s blog .

Fifty-six Romani families were forcibly evicted from their homes on Coastei Street, in the city of Cluj-Napoca in north-western Romania on 17 December 2010.


The Mayor’s letter to the activists goes on stating that “the relocation…and the signing of the rental contracts has created the necessary premises for these persons to legally benefit of stable residence in Cluj-Napoca…This way, the access to the labor market, to continuous professional training, to education, to social and medical assistance system and last but not least, the social integration and the participation to the community life was facilitated.”

It is interesting that the local authorities see “social integration” in that way. The community was pushed to the outskirts of the city, at, what could be easily described, as a remote and isolated location next to the city’s garbage dump and a former drug factory’s waste station.

The closest bus stop is approximately 3 km away. Access to public transport, school, employment and health services appears to be more difficult. The community was moved from the centre of the city, where they used to live among the rest of the population, to an area primarily, if not exclusively, inhabited by Roma. How thin is the line separating “social inclusion” from ethnic segregation?


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