MINELRES: ERRC: Albania: Roma Housing Rights Abuses

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Wed Aug 9 09:45:04 2006


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


Albanian Authorities Urged to Resolve the Situation of 21 Romani
Families Rendered Homeless by Forced Eviction

On 7 August 2006, the ERRC sent a letter to Mr. Z. Ardian Turku, Mayor
of Elbasan, expressing concern about the forced eviction and resulting
homelessness of 109 Romani individuals. The ERRC urged Mayor Turku to
ensure that the urgent housing needs of these evicted families are
addressed immediately. The full text of the ERRC letter follows:

Dear Mayor Turku,

The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), an international public interest
law organisation which monitors the human rights situation of Roma and
provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse, is writing to
express concern for the 109 Romani residents of 5 Maji Street in Elbasan
who have been forcibly evicted and whose homes have recently been
destroyed. We urge you to act on behalf of the 21 families who are now
homeless.

According to the Albanian Romani Union Amaro Drom, 109 Romani
individuals have been evicted from homes they have occupied since 1991.
At the time of the evictions, the community was in the process of
legalising their homes. However, on 15 July, local building authorities
reportedly notified residents that the building would be destroyed
beginning 21 July, and on this date proceeded to destroy the building.
Individuals were not allowed to remove their personal belongings,
including furniture and other items, before the destruction of their
homes.

Since this date, the 21 families that occupied the buildings have been
left homeless, including pregnant women and children. According to
information provided by representatives of the Elbasan Municipality, the
municipality intends to build municipal social housing for poor families
on the site, which is intended to benefit the same evicted families. 
However, evictions should not have taken place until alternative housing 
was made available so as to avoid homelessness. Local activists have
voiced doubts as to the commitment of local housing authorities to
solving the housing problems of Roma.

Mayor Turku, the absence of such alternative housing or compensation for
these families as well as the initial lack of reasonable notice or
adequate consultation with residents make this action a gross violation
of Albania’s obligations under International Human Rights Law. Under
international treaties, including the European Convention on Human
Rights, evictions should not proceed unless there is exceptional
justification; adequate notice; a search for alternatives to eviction in
genuine consultation with affected people; due process; and the
provision of remedies, including compensation and adequate resettlement
within a reasonable 
distance to sources of employment and education. Under no circumstances
should evictions result in homelessness. It is evident that these
provisions have not been met in the case of the families of 5 Maji
Street.

We urge you to ensure that the urgent housing needs of these evicted
families are addressed immediately. It is imperative that these families
are provided with an adequate housing solution. We look forward to your
response and intervention and an ongoing dialogue with you on the right
to adequate housing. Thank you very much for your time and
consideration.

Sincerely,

Dimitrina Petrova
Executive Director


Persons wishing to express similar concerns are urged to contact:

Mr. Z. Ardian Turku
Mayor of Elbasan
Elbasan
Albania

Mr Sali Berisha, Prime Minister of Albania
Bulevardi „Deshmoret e Kombit“
Tirana
Albania

Mr Ermir Dobjani
People's Advocate
Bulevardi„Deshmoret e Kombit”, Nr.3
Tirana
Albania

_____________________________________________

The European Roma Rights Centre 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 Centre, visit the ERRC on the web at
http://www.errc.org.

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Hungary

Phone: +36 1 4132200
Fax:   +36 1 4132201
_____________________________________________

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