Commissioner Muižnieks expressed today his deep concern about the evictions of more than 300 Roma families and their relocation to buildings formerly owned by a disused chemical factory in the Romanian city of Baia Mare. Reportedly, 22 children and two adults had to be taken to hospital for intoxication due to contacts with toxic substances left in the buildings.
In an interview with AFP, the Commissioner said that the action taken by the authorities of Baia Mare not only breaches the right of Roma to adequate housing but also put their right to life at serious risk.
"The relocation into the former chemical factory buildings is clearly not an adequate, alternative housing solution. An effective investigation should be conducted by the Romanian authorities to establish the responsibilities for any damage caused to the health of the people concerned. These people should be provided with reparation."
The Commissioner called on the Mayor of Baia Mare to ensure that the families concerned are promptly moved to adequate accommodation, where there is no threat for their health and where they are not segregated from the majority population. He also stressed that any relocation should be done in consultation and agreement with the people concerned.
The Commissioner will continue to follow the developments of the situation and intends to raise this issue in the framework of his ongoing dialogue with the authorities.