Magazine article New Internationalist

Roma Homes

Magazine article New Internationalist

Roma Homes

Article excerpt

After Cristian was evicted from his shack in La Samaritan, a Parisian slum, he slept in front of the local town hall for two months - partly in protest and partly because he had nowhere else to go.

'It was cold,' he says. 'And there were lots of children with us.'

Cristian and his family are ethnic Roma from Romania. They are among an estimated 20,000 Roma migrants in France who have fled poverty and discrimination in Eastern Europe.

But in France they find little solace. The Council of Europe recently reported that 'deep-seated hostility to Roma has pervaded society.' Parisian authorities regularly evict illegal settlements such as the Samaritan without providing long-term alternatives, leaving former residents sleeping on the streets.

To be homeless in France is to be locked out of the system: without an address, it is even harder to find work, or get schooling or healthcare.

Roma rights organization La Voix des Rroms (Roma Voice) has an immediate, practical solution: helping families to squat empty homes. …

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