November 28, 2022

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Chronicle, Rummler | Room for rooms in Fredrikstad?

I’ve been focusing for a long time About the situation at the space camp in Kiæråsen, especially after the two fires that occurred at short intervals this summer. The City Council will now consider any continuation of the camp. Recently, both politicians and others have positioned themselves with differing viewpoints, or been challenged with questions about what they want to do.

The Mission of the Church also intervenes in the case of the poor visitors. Our vision is that all people should feel respected, fair and cared for. We suspect here, to put it with a grain of salt, that there is much to be made in attitudes towards people of Roma origin. Having said that, we also know that there are many people who care. The municipality of Fredrikstad must also be commended for its arrangements since 2014, despite the challenges and uncertainty surrounding the chamber camp solution.

Some might ask what Our organization towards Roma (Roma people) is based in the city. We are often referred to in various contexts, most recently in an advertisement in Fredrikstad Blad on 13.9.22. Our mission is in many ways the same here as elsewhere in the community, to detect, mitigate, and influence. The Church’s City Mission has no formal responsibility for Space Camp, but we contribute to various social contexts. Not regularly, there were no resources for that, but sporadically and when needed.

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From the very beginning, we have helped, for example, with the practical follow-up of individuals towards the embassy, ​​home travel / transportation early during the pandemic (in cooperation with Oslo Municipality and others), invitations to cultural events, letters of recommendation regarding work, communication with the municipality, media promotion regarding With the issue of preventing beggary, various visits to the camp to listen to the situation, ensuring follow-up after fires, facilitating interviews with the bishop, contributing vaccination information with health workers, etc. In addition, some received various tasks, sold Erlik’s magazine, and used our offer at the coffee shop/meeting place.

Strictly speaking, we should do much more than that. Especially within what we know is most needed and needed: paid work and activity. No one dreams of sitting on a street corner and begging in all weathers. Roma in particular are often subject to harassment and discrimination, wherever in the world they travel. And conditions in the motherland, often Romania or Bulgaria, are the worst. Therefore, many take the opportunity to stay and earn a few pennies, for example, Fredrikstad, which is opened by cooperation between the EU and the European Economic Area.

Now there are certainly happy things in this field too, not least of which is Virgil’s story in the paper on 6.8.22. In the future, we may be able to establish a very small social entrepreneurship where the Roma can participate in labor tasks with the production of firewood. The Church’s City Mission is having a conversation with a socially conscious farmer in the county about this.

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What should the municipality do next? Should space camp continue or not? Are there better alternatives? We are not sure. Alternatives should probably be investigated in more detail. In any case, the camp is an attempt to help those who live there with a little help, since the carriages can be left undisturbed and sanitary conditions arranged. Norway is in fact responsible for all citizens who reside here, regardless of nationality or origin. Cities solve this differently and have different challenges to consider. As is well known, the EEA Agreement includes the free flow of goods and services, and all persons have the right to movement. We cannot withdraw from whole groups of people. In the face of a group of people who experience discrimination, we must be more careful.

When the camp was created in 2014, the comment fields featured derogatory comments and prejudices. Many, for example, were convinced that containers with sanitary solutions would be immediately destroyed, and that arrangements from the municipality represented a “luxury” which meant that heavy streams of gypsies would reach the city. Neither of them happened.

general impression today, With wagons and associated junk, especially after fires, is inconvenient and of little value. There is little doubt about that. And the residents themselves, of course, are responsible for its appearance. But what do we really know about how Roma want to live when they are in this country? There are probably several answers to that, depending on who we ask.

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Space camp must go on, Of course, temporary permits should be made more permanent, with responsibility for safety and maintenance prioritized. The Roma are, as I said, a group of people who experience discrimination and need and deserve security. If the camp is maintained, the basic question is how fire safety and basic safety can be ensured. Fredrikstad as a city also needs a solution that means the groups are not in opposition to each other.