Roma moved ‘like pawns on a chessboard’ under Rome’s ’Nomad Plan’

Local authorities want to move Roma from many camps to the new La Barbuta camp, in a remote area alongside an airport runway. With summer holidays upon them, many school-children in Rome are about to enjoy a few months respite from study. But for Roma children living in the Tor de’ Cenci camp, on the city’s southern outskirts, the last day of school may instead bring the bitter taste of a forced move and uncertainty about which school will take them next year. We spent two days in Tor de’ Cenci talking with people living there. Most of them told us they don’t want to leave, but they seem resigned to the fact that the camp will be closed anyway, whether they consent or not. Tor de’ Cenci is very close to a residential neighbourhood, so for some 15 years Roma living there have enjoyed easy access to basic services such as local doctors’ practices and shops. And with their children attending local schools they have enjoyed a degree of social inclusion that is rare for Roma communities. The camp has its origins in the late 1990s, when local authorities relocated Roma families there from another settlement. The local government installed residential containers and built a sewage system. Residents were given official title to their containers, and a street sign was erected to direct visitors towards the camp. But in recent years the mood has changed, with local authorities referring to Tor de’ Cenci as a “tolerated” camp. In 2009 they announced its closure as part of Rome’s “Nomad Plan”, devised under a state of emergency now expired, which will result in those living in mostly informal settlements around the city being forced to move to authorized camps, which are invariably located in remote areas. Although past announcements that the camp’s closure was imminent were not implemented, this time, words may be followed by action: local authorities intend to clear the area by mid-July. Tor de’ Cenci is in a dire state, with containers getting old and the sewage system in need of upgrading. Local authorities mention health and safety reasons to justify the camp’s closure. This sounds odd, since it is the local authorities which are responsible for proper maintenance to ensure conditions meet the proper standards. “This camp has been abandoned by the authorities since 2009,” said Dijana, a Tor de’ Cenci resident who is originally from Bosnia.

via roma daily news:Roma moved ‘like pawns on a chessboard’ under Rome’s ’Nomad Plan’

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