MINELRES: ERRC/Moscow Helsinki Group Action on Threats to Roma in Russia

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Nov 26 17:02:42 2004

Original sender: European Roma Rights Center <errc@errc.org>

NGOs Urge Lomonosov District Court of Arkhangelsk to Dismiss Mayor's
Office Claim for Demolition of Romani Homes

On November 19, 2004, the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) and the
Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG) sent a joint letter to Ms Nadezhda Kursova,
Chair of the Lomonosov District Court of Arkhangelsk, to express concern
about the threatened demolition of a number of wooden structures
temporarily housing about one hundred Roma in Arkhangelsk. According to
information provided by the non-governmental organisation Northwest
Center for Social and Legal Protection of Roma, in September 2004, the
Arkhangelsk mayor's office requested that the court order the demolition
of the Romani homes. The ERRC and MHG urged the court to dismiss the
demolition claim. The NGOs also requested that the court take into
consideration the fact that the structures are reportedly the only homes
the Roma have, and that their demolition would expose them to the
hazards of homelessness during the harsh winter period in that region.

In the joint letter, the ERRC and MHG note that according to an order by
Mr. Kalinin, First Deputy of the Mayor in Arkhangelsk, a site for
construction was designated on July 2, 2004. In addition, the future
settlement received an official postal address. Two months later, the
city planning commission conducted official examination of the specified
site, during which it was established that construction was already
underway, despite the fact that permission documentation had not yet
been obtained. Following this, the mayor's office requested that the
court issue an order for the demolition of the unregulated structures.

Demolition of the structures now, during wintertime, would result in
rendering the Romani families with young children exposed to serious
harms as a result of exposure to the elements. Arkhangelsk has very
harsh climatic conditions during winter.

In the letter, the MHG and ERRC request that the Lomonosov District
Court of Arkhangelsk ensure that the housing rights of the Romani
families be adequately protected. The ERRC and MHG letter notes domestic
and international law provisions potentially breached should municipal
authorities demolish the dwellings in question - notably substantive
provisions of the Russian Constitution, as well as Article 11 of the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR),
guaranteeing an adequate standard of living. The ERRC and MHG also bring
several relevant pieces of commentary to the attention of the court,
elaborating the meaning of ICESCR Article 11.

The letter was copied to Mr. Vladimir Lukin, Human Rights Commissioner
in the Russian Federation, and to Mr. Oleg Nilov, Mayor of Arkhangelsk.

Further information on the case is available by contacting: Toni Tashev, 


The European Roma Rights Center is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the rights of Roma and provides legal
defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the
European Roma Rights Center, visit the ERRC on the web at

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