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 Another Roma ghetto to be demolished

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PostSubject: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:39 am

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[size=85:gg9nqmyo]Sofia echo 15 July 2010

Another Roma ghetto to be demolished



Another Roma ghetto in Bulgaria is facing demolition. Sofia authorities have warned the inhabitants of the Malinova Dolina borough ghetto that they have 30 days (August 15) to clear out or be driven out, Bulgarian television channel bTV said on July 14 2010.

"
The Roma will be evicted by force and their shelters will be flattened,"
bTV said.

The campsite is on a meadow under a bridge that passes over the Sofia Ring Road. It is near to people who live in Berkovitsa, Lom, and Loukovit while the entire area is now full of roaming stray dogs because of the campsite.

Last week, a nine-year-old child was taken to Pirogov hospital in Sofia and is still in critical condition after it was viciously attacked by a pack of stray dogs, which have been associated with the Roma campsite, the report said.

"
What are you doing here, where do you work,"
a bTV reporter asked one of the Roma people at the site.

"
At the rubbish bins"


"
How could you bring a six-month-old child to such squalor?"


"
It will grow up,"
said the Roma, who was not identified in the report.

"
So how do you imagine your life here then?"


"
Just like that."


In April 2010, a Roma ghetto in the Sofia borough of Vrubnitsa was razed as part of a "
spring clean-up operation"
in the capital.

The ghetto, consisting of barracks, sheds and other illegal constructions, is on municipal land. Residents of Vrubnitsa signed a petition in January 2010 demanding that the Roma be expelled from the site. The ghetto was flattened at the cost of 40 000 leva, paid from the public purse.

On January 14 2010, Bourgas municipality ordered a Roma ghetto in the city's Slaveikov borough demolished.

The Roma site, which at the time consisted of about 20 shacks and other "
shelters"
, was near a major railway junction. Bulldozers arrived and flattened the buildings in the perimeter while the Roma were expelled.

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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:39 pm

[size=55:3uaqd9gk]DPA 26 September 2010

Roma Face the Same Prejudices across Eastern Europe

The recent French expulsions of illegal Roma immigrants has drawn attention to an ethnic minority which has spread across many borders and faces the same problems and prejudices almost everywhere in Central and Eastern Europe.

There are several million Roma, or Gypsies, in Eastern and Central Europe, but their exact number is elusive, as many remain unregistered or declare themselves differently to minimize prejudice.

Unemployment and illiteracy rates among them are several times higher than that of the majority populations across the region, as few finish even elementary schooling.

Many live in illegal shanty settlements without basic infrastructure or hygiene and limited or no access to health and social care.

Romanian President Tarian Basescu said last week that 1 million Roma had been 'integrated' into the nation's society, describing the rest, including those who illegally settled in France, as 'nomads.'

It is estimated that there are up to 2 million Roma in Romania, almost four times as many as the official figure of 540,000.

In Bulgaria, they are the third-largest ethnic group, behind Bulgarians and Turks. The 370,000 registered in the 2001 census made up 4.7 per cent of the population.

It was Roma from Bulgaria and Romania, the latest additions to the European Union, who were repatriated this year by France amid much controversy.

Those expelled said they had hoped to escape the utter poverty of their lives in their home countries. Tens of thousands of them live in favela-like settlements, in homes patched together out of mud, cardboard, tin and plastic.

In Slovakia, half of the 400,000-strong Roma population lives in quasi segregation, partly in slums akin to those in the Third World.

In several communities, the majority population has moved to physically separate themselves from the Roma, even going so far as to build walls, such as in the eastern town of Presov.

A similar situation exists in Hungary - most of the 600,000 Roma live in ghettos in the north and north-east and remain unintegrated, with just 1.2 per cent graduating from high school. Work is scarce and that available is mostly poorly paid.

Life expectancy among Hungarian Roma is 15 years shorter than the national average.

The Roma are also vulnerable to violent hate crimes. In Hungary, at least six were killed in a series of attacks, including shootings and petrol-bombing of the victims' homes, in 2008 and 2009. Four men were eventually held over the killings.

Roma have also faced discrimination and outright hostility in Slovenia, the most developed among the batch of countries which joined the EU in 2004.

In October 2006, the Strojans, a Roma family, were driven from the village of Ambrus by angry residents. Their home, a house and several shacks, were torched and they spent several days hiding in the forest until the authorities relocated them to an empty army barracks.

In Serbia, there are 110,000 registered Roma, but it is estimated that they are nearly eight times as numerous.

In Belgrade there are at least three large squatter villages, contemptuously referred to as 'cardboard cities,' with hundreds of makeshift homes and tons of rubbish surrounding them. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 Roma live there.

According to studies, 60 per cent of Roma children never complete the mandatory eight years of elementary school and a third of men and half of women are illiterate.

Roma who have jobs often work for the communal services, as street cleaners or rubbish collectors. As elsewhere, they, and even their children, are vulnerable to hate attacks by extremists.

In 1997, a Roma child, from a working family with a home in central Belgrade, was beaten to death by a gang of skinheads. A well- known Serbian actor, Dragan Maksimovic, was also fatally beaten in 2001 when a group of extremists mistook him for a Gypsy.

Hate attacks on Roma have been reported in almost every country where they live, from Poland to Italy, the Ukraine to Ireland.

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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:35 pm

Roma Unrest Threatens Mayor of Bulgaria's Yambol



Roma from the Bulgarian southern city of Yambol, who lived in the notorious apartment building 20, formed a spontaneous protest Monday in front of the city's municipality.

The Roma were evicted two weeks ago because they had illegally occupied apartment building 20. However, as they were asked to move out, they have began to break the walls with hammers, in order to remove the metal structures from inside the concrete, and to sell them for scrap.

After the demolition of the building began, some Roma families remained at the nearby meadow, building huts there with materials at hand.

On Monday, following a demand by the lawyer of 16 owners of apartments in the notorious building, the case for the legality of the mayor's order for demolition of the building was postponed by the Court of Appeals for October 11.

The number of Roma inside and outside the court house was more than 70. After it was made clear that the ruling will not be announced on Monday, they headed to the municipality, where they stayed under the mayor's windows and shouted that they wanted a meeting with him.

The protesting group's unofficial spokesperson, who called himself Sasho, has stated that they will wait for the mayor to announce when will they receive compensations for the eviction.

However, after no one except the journalists paid attention to their demands, the Roma announced they would make a camp in front of the municipality.

A man who was passing by the camp by accident and who was carrying two pieces of linoleum, stopped next to the Roma and was ready to start "
building"
the first tent. However, after he was explained he needed a permission, he postponed his intention.

After waiting for about two hours in vain, the protesting Roma left the site of the municipality.

The Yambol mayor, Georgi Slavov, has reiterated his position that he would not make a compromise. He claimed that the laws should be followed and that compensations and accommodation in municipal housing will happen in compliance with the respective rules.

The people who are applying for accommodation in municipal housing have to follow the established order, which is enrollment and waiting with the rest of the 800 Yambol citizens, who have also demanded accommodation from the municipality.

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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:51 pm

Stick to your guns Georgi Slavov.

How on earth can these people expect to jump the queue, where do they think they are, the UK. They don't pay a leva in why should they get a leva out.

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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:15 pm

[size=55:29m6nnfz]novinite 05 October 2010

Roma Families Evicted in Bulgaria's Haskovo

The City Hall in Bulgaria's southern city of Haskovo began evicting Tuesday Roma families from municipal housing.

The five families have not paid rent on their apartments for a long period of time and owe a total of BGN 8 000 with the biggest amount due of BGN 3 424 for a three-bedroom place.

Stefan Angelov, 51, had not paid rent since 1993.

Three more families, with large outstanding rent payments, are to be evicted by the end of the week.

The Roma leave in the Haskovo "
Orfey"
(Orpheus) district.


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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:46 pm

This is a real shame and I know they should pay their way but winter is looming and I think they could have done it earlier or at least left it till the new year and the warmer weather
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:03 pm

We have just had 3 blocks of flats flattened in the Roma district of Yambol,359 Flats,all these families have been promised houuses in the villages around the Yambol region,we wait and see if this will happen,where i live we have been told to expect 6 families,but as yet none have arrived
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:37 pm

[size=55:3eumonjh]Deutsche Welle 12 October 2010

Roma issue is the center of attention again

The European Commission will once again push member states to do more to improve the situation for Roma travellers on Tuesday at a conference in Bucharest. The meeting was organized after the French government began its deportations of Roma families over the summer, drawing international criticism.
The Bucharest conference aims to promote the better use of EU funds to improve the socio-economic situation of the 10 to 12 million Roma living on the continent. They face discrimination, poverty, segregation, and barriers to education and the labour market in many of the European countries in which they settle.
In Slovakia, for example, only 3 percent of Roma children finish secondary education. In Bulgaria, over 50 percent of Roma are unemployed. In Romania only about a quarter of Roma have a steady job.

European funds are under-used

In recent years the European Union has brought in a comprehensive financial program to promote the integration of the Roma and Sinti travellers. But Romania and Bulgaria, the EU member states with the biggest Roma communities, have made little use of the subsidies.
Despite the high-profile debate about integration of Roma sparked by France's crackdown on its travelling community, the European Union's commissioner for social affairs and inclusion complained recently that few nations are drawing on the available financial aid.
"
I would like to stress that this is the responsibility of the European Union and the member states together,"
Andor said in the European Parliament. "
The structural funds offer a very useful financial lever for supporting national efforts to improve the situation of the Roma. However, EU funds are often not fully used, or not used in the most effective way."

Currently Romania is only using 1 percent of the 2.25 billion euros ($3.1 billion) made available by the European Social Fund between 2007 and 2013 to improve the situation of vulnerable groups. Bulgaria is only using 5 percent of the fund.

Integration is not just about money

However, there is of course no compulsion to use the money. The German conservative MEP Manfred Weber hopes there is enough incentive for countries to apply for the money if they need it.
"
The decisive factor in integration of course is always that it can't be proscribed from above, rather it's got to happen in the towns, in the communities themselves,"
Weber told Deutsche Welle. "
It demands creativity."

The European Commission has set up a working group to assess why the Roma struggle so much with integration. The group will deliver its findings by the end of the year.
In the meantime Andor wants member states to set ambitious targets for tackling poverty and improving the educational horizons of the Roma.
"
It's only about poverty reduction, it's not only about social inclusion,"
the commissioner said. "
We have to ensure that the Roma are explicitly mentioned in our new employment flagship initiative, because that's also where a breakthrough has to be made."

Manfred Weber believes governments have to tackle the root of the problem by targeting education.
“We have to follow through the idea that children of this ethnic minority must attend school. Only then can we succeed in truly integrating these travelling families into European societies.”
The problems for the Roma in Europe are not new. There is money available in Europe to tackle it. But it has taken the row over the policy of deporting Roma from France to bring this much-beleaguered community into the spotlight.

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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:50 pm

[size=55:2pj78r3r]novinite 13 October 2010

Yambol Completes Demolition of Notorious Building



The notorious apartment building 20, which used to accommodate Roma in the Bulgarian city of Yambol, have been completely demolished, sliveninfo.com reported.

The demolition, which continued for 27 days, ended on Wednesday. By noon, only a pile of dust and rats remained from the building.

According to official data from the demolishing company, the construction waste has been a total of 10,000 cu m and 3,600 tons of garbage was thrown.

The workers have stated that rats kept coming out during the demolishing process.

"
There were at least 2000 rats. And no one could count the fleas,"
they said, adding that Roma could still be seen around the apartment building during the day but they disappeared in the evening.

The demolishing operation has cost the Yambol municipality about BGN 100,000.

There is still no update from the Administrative Court on the appeal of the order by Yambol mayor, Georgi Slavov, for the demolition of the building.

The Roma were evicted in September because they had illegally occupied apartment building 20. However, as they were asked to move out, they have begun to break the walls with hammers, in order to remove the metal structures form inside the concrete, and to sell them for scrap.

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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:28 pm

[size=55:2hbbgubo]BNR 13 October 2010

The Roma issue can be solved via EU-wide integration strategy

This summer, France carried out expulsion actions against thousands of Roma immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria. Thus, since January 2010, the total number of expelled Roma people, immigrants from the new EU member states, has now reached 8 thousand people. This gave rise to heated debates in EU institutions over the lawfulness of such measures exercised towards EU citizens from a particular ethnic group. Both, the European Parliament and the European Commission, condemned the actions of France as improper. The European Commission has even warned the French cabinet that unless it revises its laws by October 15, 2010, in compliance with EU legislation on the free movement of people, an infringement procedure will be started against France.

The EU Commission views the mass expulsion of Roma people as a human rights violation of the liberty to free movement of EU citizens on the territory of the community, warranted in the Lisbon Treaty. The prevailing opinion, however, is that the main problem of the Roma people, who account for almost 12 million in Europe, is related to their social integration. In early September, the European Commission decided to set up a work group of experts to analyze the causes for the low absorption rate of EU funds allocated to Roma integration projects. By the end of 2010, the team will have to outline methods for improving the efficient absorption of these funds. 12 member states, including Bulgaria and Romania, have drawn up strategies for Roma integration to the tune of 17.5 billion euro, with 75 per cent of it being provided by EU funds. In addition to this, EU countries could also use funds for regional development to help vulnerable groups for providing shelter. However, as EU Justice Commissioner Vivian Redding stated in front of the European Parliament, “although the money was available, it was not wisely spent on solving the problem”.

“The Roma issue really exists and it has European dimensions”, says MP Monika Panayotova, chairperson of the Commission on European Matters and Control of EU funds in the Bulgarian Parliament. “The good thing is that a European solution is now being sought”, she said in an interview for Radio Bulgaria. “At first, emotions prevailed over common sense in tackling the case with France’s expulsion of Bulgarian and Romanian Roma. But after the EU summit on the issue, all participants reached a unanimous decision that the EU needs to draw a common strategy on integrating this vulnerable social group”, Monika Panayotova commented.

“Bulgaria’s official position on the expulsion of the Roma people voiced by Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov is based on facts only. We are talking about less than 50 Bulgarian nationals who were expelled from France, so there was no human rights violation or unfair treatment, and no violence exercised over Bulgarian nationals of Roma descent. The people expelled from France were not groups of people but separate individuals who were returned on commercial airline flights. So, we need to base our statements on facts. Many things were said on this case about discrimination and about the French type of democracy. What is important is that now emotions are not the driving force and we have started thinking in pragmatic terms how to best integrate this group into society. It is very important that these efforts do not come from one side only – Roma people themselves need to become welll aware of their problems and be active in looking for solutions.”

In Monika Panayotova’s opinion, the second most important question is how the allocated 17.5 billion euro of EU funded will be absorbed. Bulgaria is expected to provide an expert opinion on this issue, being a country with long-standing problems in this field. Mrs. Panayotova says that the control and transparency in absorbing the funds allocated for social inclusion of Roma people is very important.

“Another important thing to mention is that we cannot talk about expulsion and repatriation but for voluntary return back home of the gypsies from France. Recently, a delegation of members of the two chambers of the French Parliament was on a visit to the Bulgarian Parliament, and during the meeting, Bulgaria’s ambition to join the Schengen area was called a national priority that has nothing to do with the incident of France’s expulsion of Roma people. All political parties in the Bulgarian Parliament called for assistance on behalf of their French colleagues in entering the Schengen area next year, i.e. the focus must be on the pragmatic approach, and not on short-term political effect.”

Recently, the French ambassador to Bulgaria, Etienne de Poncins, recommended to the Bulgarian government that it should appoint a minister of Roma integration, to which Bulgaria’s President Georgi Parvanov reacted very strongly:

“I think that more administrative staff does not necessarily mean stricter control”, Mrs. Panayotova argues. “One person is not capable of controlling this process. What we need is interaction between state institutions and non-governmental organizations on Roma issues. We need to look for European solutions. A new cabinet minister and more red tape is not the real solution.”

Bulgaria has received EU funding to tackle Roma issues earlier during the pre-accession programs such as PHARE. Unofficial data shows that some 120 million euro has been allocated then but with no visible results. Current EU operational programs do not have a special section on Roma integration but some of them, such as Human Resources Development and Regional Development OP, can be used for Roma integration.

“Everyone concerned should take part in the implementation of these projects. We often hear opinions that the state should build houses for the Roma. But even if it does build houses and other dwellings, the Roma people need to take good care of them, otherwise the results will be negative. That is why we need to act responsibly towards everyone concerned, including the Roma community. And in case dwellings are built, gypsies themselves must take part in their construction”, MP Monika Panayotova said in conclusion.

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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:21 pm

After reading all this the bit that I find important is this....

Bulgaria has received EU funding to tackle Roma issues earlier during the pre-accession programs such as PHARE. Unofficial data shows that some 120 million euro has been allocated then but with no visible results. Current EU operational programs do not have a special section on Roma integration but some of them, such as Human Resources Development and Regional Development OP, can be used for Roma integration

Once again where has this money gone
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:59 am

Roma Issue in Yambol Awaits Solution

On Friday an unexpected visitor called at the notorious Roma-populated Block 20 in Yambol, south eastern Bulgaria. This place is a phenomenon that can exist only at this geographical latitude, a trademark for a peculiar way of life of the minorities, who in Bulgaria have learnt to ensconce themselves as if they were ethnic majority. The inhabitants of the municipality-owned block of flats have managed to tear up the very skeleton of building both inside and outside selling the metal carcass for scrap. What has remained of the prefab looked like eaten up by starved Moroccan locusts.
HE James Warlick, US Ambassador to Bulgaria, arrived in a tent camp accommodating the block’s inhabitants after they were moved out of it. HE Warlick plucked up his courage and stepped inside two of the shanty houses and commented that there were socially disadvantaged people in the USA as well. The Roma, hungry and trembling with cold, packed like sardines in a tin can, at once attacked him with pleas for money and shelter.
UNICEF representatives, at the invitation of whom the ambassador visited the Roma neighbourhood in Yambol, reported they had been working towards settling the homeless families. About five or six Roma families, that is about 150 people, are currently living in tents.
Yambol Mayor has set himself a goal to tear down the illegal ghetto and take care of the homeless. Till then, however, things in this desolate neighbourhood of Yambol will remain unchanged.

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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:04 am

I makes you wonder how Bulgaria can call itself a civilised state when it allows families to live like this I know they choose that way of life but they should have rehoused them first instead of leaving them out in the harsh winter and what about the children? they didn't have a choice
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:05 am

From Novinite

Bulgarian Roma to Build Own Houses with EC Help

Most Roma in Bulgaria live in extreme poverty, amonh stray dogs and piles of trash.
The European Commission is asking to introduce a pilot model in Bulgaria related to Roma housing policy, Bulgaria's Minister for EU Funds, Tomislav Donchev informs Monday.

With the EC and the State assistance Bulgarian Roma will receive materials and favorable conditions to build their houses by themselves.

"
Land plots will be slated and individuals to participate in the program will be selected. With the help of engineers and technicians they will put together their own houses. The amount for the program is estimated at BGN 10 M,"
Donchev told reporters.

According to the Minister, the goal is to create a sense of ownership in the Roma, who by taking part in the construction process will use the homes with the desire to preserve them.

Donchev explained the first results are to be expected in a year and half because the process here would be more complex than just hiring a company to put together the houses.

On other topics, the Minister informed the cabinet's goal was to pay 20% of the EU programs' funds by the end of 2011;
40% in 2012, and over half in 2013.
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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:53 pm

[size=55:1s2ssfu6]novinite

Authorities Dismantle Roma Tent Camp in Bulgaria's Yambol


The Roma tent camp near the former notorious apartment building 20 in the Bulgarian southern city of Yambol has been dismantled.

Construction equipment has been used in the last several days to clean the meadow which is actually a football field. The action had been planned by the City Hall and aims to remove for good the illegal tents, huts, and other handmade dwellings.

Despite Roma voicing outrage, the municipality is firm they would no allow them to live there. Police is to monitor the site 24 hours a day.

Social Services, the municipal administration and UNICEF Bulgaria say only one family has no place to go, while the rest have been housed with friends and relatives. NGOs are seeking ways to solve the issue and find a home for the family.

In September 2010, building 20, occupied illegally by Roma, was demolished because it was deemed dangerous for the lives and the health of the squatters. Some of the residents, however, built a camp in the nearby meadow, and occupied it for 7 months.

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PostSubject: Re: Another Roma ghetto to be demolished   Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:23 pm

i'm glad to see so many members showing good will towards the plight of the rom. i understand that for outsiders their way of life is unfathomable and the poverty is awful. however with many family and friends who are rom. i am really happy to see that basic humantity exists in many of the members so i would like applaude you all. if more people felt the same then one day the prejudice may end. T

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