MINELRES: Bulgarian Authorities Urged to Halt Forced Evictions of Roma
Mon Jul 3 10:18:23 2006
Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <firstname.lastname@example.org>
International organisations call for halt to planned eviction wave in
29 June, 2006, Budapest, Geneva, Sofia: The Sofia Municipality in the
Vazrazhdane district has announced that on 30 June 2006 it will forcibly
evict Roma families from the Batalova vodenitza neighbourhood, also
known as NPZ Sredetz. Many of the families have lived in this
neighbourhood for almost a century and are now threatened with
homelessness, as the Municipality has not offered compensation or
Furthermore, in May 2006, vice-mayor of the Sofia City Council, Tsvetan
Tsvetanov announced that all 'illegal' Roma settlements would be
'liquidated' and gave the mayors of Sofia municipalities 20 days to draw
up a list of such settlements.
International human rights organisations, the Centre on Housing Rights
and Evictions (COHRE) and The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), have
called for a halt to the planned eviction wave of Roma in Sofia in a
letter addressed to the President of Bulgaria.
COHRE Executive Director, Jean du Plessis, condemned the announcement
saying, "No details were provided on the new strategy and there was
no guarantee that the human rights of Roma would be respected. When a
similar announcement was made in August last year, it led to devastating
consequences for 24 Romani families in the Hristo Botev neighbourhood of
Sofia: they lost their homes and were not provided with any
The Batalova vodenitza neighbourhood now faces a similar fate. The
families, due to be evicted tomorrow, are only entitled to one-time
support in the amount of BGN 275 (approximately Euro 130). They have
now filed a case with the European Court of Human Rights.
ERRC Programmes Director, Claude Cahn, condemned the approach of the
authorities, "We call for an immediate stop to the planned eviction
because it is an assault on a range of fundamental rights of Roma.
The threatened evictions of the Romani families in Batalova
vodenitza, as well as in other parts of the country, are the extreme
face of the decades-long failure of the Bulgarian state to ensure the
access of Roma to adequate housing."
Other communities also face impending eviction. The Municipality in
Vazrazhdane has issued eviction notices to the 16 families of a
different community that is also called Batalova vodenitza. Despite
the community residing on this land since 1926, the families were
informed on 26 June 2006 that they now have 14 days to object to
notices. The Regional Directorate on Control of Illegal Constructions
will then have the power to forbid the use of the buildings and cut
off electricity and water supplies.
Under international human rights law, Bulgaria has clear obligations
to ensure that evictions only occur in exceptional circumstances,
with due process and with the provision of alternative accommodation.
Bulgaria's record on upholding the housing rights of Roma is now
under close scrutiny by the Strasbourg-based European Committee on
Social Rights in the case of ERRC v Bulgaria.
The full text of the COHRE/ERRC letter to the Bulgarian President is
For further information, contact:
Malcolm Langford, Centre on Housing Rights & Evictions, +49 163 820
Savelina Danova, European Roma Rights Center, Mobile: +36 20 98 36
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
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