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Woman loses flat ‘because she was Roma’

A woman from Sweden claims to have lost her rental property after the contract was already signed and keys had been exchanged, following pressure from the other tenants to not let a member of the Roma people live in the building.

Woman loses flat 'because she was Roma'

“The other tenants would move out if I moved in,” said Tuija Svart to Sveriges Television (SVT).

Svart and her teenage daughter had returned to Sweden after staying for a year in Finland, and had been looking for a flat near her other daughter.

She went to look at an advertised apartment and decided that she liked the flat.

According to SVT, she then signed a contract, got the keys and changed her address over the internet. But while in the moving van, the landlord rang her and said that she couldn’t move in after all.

“He said that I had a different background,” Svart told SVT.

Svart told SVT that it was the first time she felt discriminated against in Sweden for being a member of the Roma people.

Her daughter Samira was also upset about what happened.

“Mainly I felt angry. And sad as well. It felt a bit like if my dreams were crushed,” she told SVT.

Fearing what would happen otherwise, Svart returned the keys to the landlord. But she also reported the incident to the police and to the Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen, DO).

Then the landlord changed his tune and said that the reason he didn’t want to accept her as a tenant was that she didn’t have a valid passport, that her car was registered in Finland and that she had no previous address in Sweden, according to SVT.

However, despite the legal experts at the local authority finding in Tuija Svart’s favour, their hands are tied as Svart sent back the keys without coercion.

However, police are still investigating if Svart has been the victim of discrimination.

“We have spoken to the landlord and he has been allowed to present his side of the story. I have read the statements and see no reason to drop the preliminary investigation at this point,“ said prosecutor Niclas Wargren to SVT.

At the Equality Ombudsman they are also currently looking into the matter.

“We’re investigating it right now and are collecting witness statements from those involved,” said Lars Tornberg at DO to SVT.

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ROMA

Sweden fails to cut number of ‘vulnerable EU migrants’

The number of homeless beggars from Romania and Bulgaria living in Sweden is as high as it was three years ago, according to the new government figures.

Sweden fails to cut number of 'vulnerable EU migrants'
A man begs with a sign asking for work. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT
“There are around 4,500 to 5,000 vulnerable EU citizens currently in Sweden,” Claes Ling-Vannerus, Sweden's national coordinator on the issue, told Swedish state broadcaster SVT.
 
This is the same number estimated in a report  three years ago from Martin Valfridsson, who was appointed by the Swedish government to investigate the issue and what to do about it. 
 
Sweden appointed the national coordinator to work with the governments of Romania and Bulgaria on providing aid to ethnic Roma communities to reduce the attraction of travelling to other European countries to beg. 
 
Municipalities across Sweden and volunteer organisation have offered shelter and food to those in need. 
 
Others have taken a tougher approach, with police this year starting to enforce a begging ban in Vellinge, near Malmö, the first municipality in Sweden to bring in such a ban.
 
 
Ling-Vannerus said that Sweden had recently been seeing growing numbers of poor people from Romania and Bulgaria being put to work “in substandard conditions” as cleaners or builders, or in car garages. 
 
“My conclusion is that it is very attractive to come to Sweden with the life we live here and with free movement of people, it's hard to stop that.” 
 
Sweden appointed the national coordinator to work with the governments of Romania and Bulgaria on providing aid to poor ethnic Roma communities in their countries to reduce the attraction of travelling to other European countries to beg. 
 
Municipalities across Sweden and volunteer organisation have offered shelter and food to the help those who travel to Sweden. 
 
This year police began enforcing a begging ban in Vellinge, near Malmö, the first municipality in Sweden to bring in such a measure. 
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