Last update:
2019-08-08

Hundreds of Roma forced to live in chemical laboratory of the CUPROM copper factory, Baia Mare, Romania

In Craica, Baia Mare, in 2012 local authorities forcibly displaced Roma community to live n a disued toxic chemical factory after their homes had been demolished.


Description:

With anti-Roma sentiment running high in Craica,  Romania; Roma community living in informal settlement surrounded by apartheid wall build by the local  city government, were issued with eviction notices and demolitions of their homes began in 2012 by the same  government [5] [6].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Hundreds of Roma forced to live in chemical laboratory of the CUPROM copper factory, Baia Mare, Romania
Country:Romania
State or province: Baia Mare
Location of conflict:Craica
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Chemical industries
Metal refineries
Specific commodities:Chemical products
Copper
Zinc
Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Craica in Baia Mare is an old mining city of 150,000 in a bucolic region 60 km [4]. CUPROM is an abandoned state owned copper factory in Baia Mare, and was one of the most polluting in Romania [5]. For decades, toxic chemicals were used and produced here [1] [4]. Toxic waste still remains today [1] [2] [3] [4]. The mayor in charge in 2012, ordered the eviction of informal Roma settlement and placed the Roma community in the CUPROM, a place containing toxic chemicals and a poisoned surrounding environment (e.h. land, water)[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]. Cuprom was abandoned in 1989 unitl founded again in 2003 until 2012, being the result of the merger between the metallurgical company Phoenix Baia Mare and the Elcond Zalău plant, two of the most important Romanian companies in the metallurgic industry. Five years later in 2017, Cuprom went into insolvency, the court formalized the bankruptcy required by creditor banks [8].

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Project area:150
Level of Investment:600, 000, 000
Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:2,000
Start of the conflict:07/06/2012
Company names or state enterprises:CUPROM (CUPROM) from Romania - The owners (in bankruptcy) of the factory where the Roma were evicted
Relevant government actors:Romanian government.
The Mayor of Baia Mare (since 2011 until today 2019).
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Amnesty International https://www.amnesty.org
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of mobilization:Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Passive resistance to eviction
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Waste overflow
Potential: Groundwater pollution or depletion, Fires
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
Potential: Occupational disease and accidents, Accidents
Other Health impacts Chemical poisoning
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Other socio-economic impactsForced housing in unhealthy conditions, separation and isolation of Roma communities
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Repression
Development of alternatives:Amnesty International (AI) [2] reminded the Romanian national and local authorities that
forced evictions constitute a violation of a range of international and regional human rights. AI furthermore required alternatives to eviction that must be put in place including provision of prior adequate notice, legal remedies, compensation for all losses and adequate alternative housing; relocation from the poisoned sites and alternative healthy housing. The requirement for the Roma community was not provided until today (2019) [3] [5] [6].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Forced eviction of hundreds of Roma in 2012 because the authorities fail to provide adequate alternative housing to all the persons affected. People were forcibly displaced by the government into a former chemical factory, that still contains hazardous and toxic chemical substances and poisoned land. The Roma still live in the chemical laboratory on the land that is an so far an abandoned copper factory (CUPROM). Another question is: what would happen again to the Roma if the new investments plans and re-establishing the CUPROM factory and even new mining activities in the surrounding area [9] go ahead ?
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[2]Romania: Stop forced eviction of Romani settlement in Craica, Baia Mare
[click to view]

[3]Romania: One Town Evicts the Roma in Its Midst
[click to view]

[4]Rehousing Romania's Roma signals swing to extremes
[click to view]

[5]The Roma children who languish at an abandoned factory
[click to view]

[6]Scores of Roma face imminent forced eviction. Amnesty International
[click to view]

[7] ROMA LOST IN EU-ROPE. BAIA MARE
[click to view]

[9] Company "Cuprom" from Romania intends to invest up to 200m USD in Mining Smeltery Basin "Bor"
[click to view]

[8] Zalau, Romania: Economy. (2018). The result of the merger between the metallurgical company Phoenix Baia Mare and the Elcond Zalău plant.
[click to view]

[1] Romanian Mayor Moves Hundreds of Roma to a Decommissioned Chemical Factory. On June 1, 2012, the mayor of Baia Mare, a town in northern Romania, decided to force hundreds of Roma, who until then had lived in very bad conditions in the ghetto called Craica, into an improvised accommodation in a former chemical laboratory of the decommissioned chemical factory CUPROM. The move was widely seen as part of Mayor Cătălin Cherecheş’s electioneering in the run-up to 10 June local elections in the country
[click to view]

Other documents

Roma community in the Craica neighbourhood of Baia Mare Source: The Telegraph

http://d2ybq9unw89ve4.cloudfront.net/news/picturegalleries/picturesoftheday/10304247/Pictures-of-the-day-12-September-2013.html?frame=2670099
[click to view]

Members of Roma community protesting Members of Roma community refusing to be evicted to the toxic factory
[click to view]

A former chemical laboratory of the decommissioned chemical factory CUPRON Bottles of chemicals at the abandoned factory where Roma people were forced to live. Source: http://www.romatransitions.org
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Ksenija Hanacek ICTA-UAB
Last update08/08/2019
Comments
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