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Failure to investigate attack on Roma settlement leads to local reforms

Kalanyos and Others v. Romania  | 2007

Failure to investigate attack on Roma settlement leads to local reforms

the houses of the Roma villagers were destroyed, the Roma were chased away, [and] some were beaten up…

Constantin Cojocariu, lawyer of the applicants. Retrieved from Pe drept vorbind 

Background

There was a dispute between Roma and non-Roma residents in nearby villages.  A notice was displayed by the non-Roma residents, saying that the Roma residents’ houses would be burnt down the following day. The local authorities were informed about the threat but refused to intervene.

The non-Roma villagers then burnt down all of the Roma villagers’ houses. The Roma villagers were forced to live in dreadful conditions in nearby stables, without heating or running water. They complained to the prosecutor and the local courts about the attack but their case was rejected. The Roma villagers were told that they were to blame for what had happened.

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

After the applicants had sent their case to the Strasbourg court, the Romanian government issued a declaration. This accepted that the Roma villagers’ rights had been violated. The authorities had failed to examine their case properly, and the local courts had failed to give them a fair trial. The government promised to pay each of the applicants around 30,000 euros in compensation and undertake widespread reforms.

Follow-up

The Romanian government approved an educational programme in the applicants’ area to tackle anti-Roma discrimination. Local authorities launched a programme aimed at improving schools in the area and the local infrastructure, as well as helping Roma villagers have access to decent living conditions and economic activities.


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