Forced Evictions: Racial Persecution and Social Exclusion of the Roma Minority in Romania

The increase in forced evictions of Roma communities in the European Union is cause for alarm. In Romania, the Member State with the largest Roma population, they are part of a consistent practice of racial segregation and social exclusion. The discriminatory intent of forced evictions and the lack of domestic procedural safeguards constitute a violation of the country’s international and regional treaty obligations. However, despite a recent influx of cases that reveal the influence of prejudice over the relevant state action, the European Court of Human Rights has failed to resolve the matter. Even where it found breaches of the right to respect for one’s private and family life, it failed to recognize the discriminatory purpose of official policies. This Note proposes a new legal framework for the Court to adopt in its adjudication of cases concerning forced evictions of vulnerable minorities. It argues that due to the profound impact forced evictions have on the Roma community, the Court should view them as a violation of the prohibition of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. By doing so, it would increase pressure on national governments and effectively compel them to comply with international standards governing forced evictions. 

56 Colum. J. Transnat'l L. 855