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Landmark report highlights environmental racism, state disinvestment in Substandard Romani Settlements

The Global Forum of (GFoD) has released a landmark report titled Substandard Romani Settlements Across Europe: Environmental Racism And Disinvestment.

This report sheds light on the situation of living in substandard Romani settlements (SRS), one of the most unacceptable forms of discrimination and exclusion of Roma communities across Europe. Substandard settlements can take different forms such as slums, shantytowns, ghettos, squats, and dwellings.

The report aims to illustrate some of the key challenges and living conditions in such substandard Roma settlements across Europe and raise awareness of the slow violence of state disinvestment towards these communities.

Many Roma communities across Europe live in conditions of extreme poverty and social marginalization. Alongside education, employment, and healthcare, housing and settlement issues are some of the most pressing concerns. In 2022, a European Parliament report on the situation of Roma people living in settlements in the EU stressed “that access to decent desegregated housing is key to breaking the vicious circle of intergenerational poverty and social exclusion; notes that access to housing is a precondition for human dignity and is closely linked to the full enjoyment of human rights.”

“Dallas in Cluj Napoca, Romania, Shanghai in Novi Sad, Serbia, Mexico in Kicevo, North Macedonia, they all represent an ironic label to denote many of the Roma-inhabited SRS,” the report says.

The case of France with the repatriation program of Sarkozy, when Romanian and Bulgarian Roma living in camps were given money to return to their countries, is well known. The evictions or expelling Roma from such settlements were considered by the authorities as the solution to problems (mis)associated with these settlements such as prostitution, the exploitation of children for the purposes of begging, crime, or illicit trafficking. Today, French authorities are still using policies of dismantling illegal settlements, with forced collective evictions of Roma families from their camps without any alternative accommodation being offered,” the report adds.

Also Read: Status of Roma in Europe Regional Report – Summary and Full Report

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