Saturday, 08. March 2014 - 04:03
29. 02. 12. - 12:00
Roma children in Romanian towns live in isolation and without access to a water supply, among others, a UNICEF report said today (Tues).
The UNICEF "State of the world's children 2012 - children in urban world" report refers to Roma children as well, who suffer from a lack of education, living in real ghettos, isolated on the outskirts of towns and without access to a water supply.
In Central and Eastern Europe, Roma children continue to have substantially lower vaccination coverage, with appalling consequences. When Bulgaria experienced an outbreak of measles in 2009, 90 per cent of all cases occurred among the ethnic Roma community, the report reads.
Romania, home to more than half a million Roma according to the latest official data (other estimates run as high as 2.8 million), illustrates the difficulties and opportunities involved in efforts to eliminate disparities and promote inclusion.
In 2001, the government adopted a national strategy to improve the situation of Roma throughout the country. Ten years on, only 13 per cent of local governments have implemented specific measures for Roma communities.
Poverty affects Roma communities in both urban and rural Romania; the poorest are clustered mainly in mid-size towns and larger villages, the report reads.
What sets the situation in urban settings apart, here as in the wider region, is the separation of Roma from the rest of the municipal population, with the Roma population
living in de facto ‘ghettos’. The problem of "ghettoization" is a clear physical manifestation of exclusion.
Its roots date back to the mid-1800s, when laws were passed freeing Roma from centuries of slavery. Without any policies to promote and ease integration, freed Roma settled on the margins of urban areas – essentially, on no man’s land.
Roma communities remain isolated – many are not connected to public utilities. The absence of permanent housing, combined with a lack of birth or identity documents, can significantly limit access to health care, education and employment.
Evictions frequently occur without warning, reinforcing this segregation, the report reads.
In 2005, only 46 per cent of the Roma population aged 12 and above had spent more than four years in school (compared with 83 per cent of the general population), and of those only 13 per cent acquired at least some secondary education (63 per cent among the general population).
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