MINELRES: ERRC: Rights Organizations Condemn Roma Evictions in Russia
Tue Jul 11 20:18:02 2006
Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Call for Protection of Hundreds of Roma Rendered Homeless in Kaliningrad
Budapest, July 5, 2006. The Open Society Justice Initiative and the
European Roma Rights Centre today condemned the forced eviction and
destruction of homes belonging to more than 200 Roma, including over
100 children, in the village of Dorozhnoe, in Russia's Kaliningrad
>From May 29 to June 2, authorities bulldozed 37 houses belonging to
Roma families and set fire to the ruins. The destruction followed
flawed proceedings in the Russian courts that denied the Roma
fundamental due process.
Over 100 of the displaced Roma, who had lived legally for years in
their homes, are currently in tents and other temporary shelters and
are being threatened with physical expulsion from their land. Others
have fled elsewhere or been expelled from the area.
"This wanton attack on the Roma of Dorozhnoe must cease immediately,"
said Dimitrina Petrova, Executive Director of the European Roma
Rights Centre. "The Russian authorities must provide the now-homeless
Roma with humanitarian aid and adequate compensation for their
losses, and restore legal title to their property."
Regional authorities began their eviction campaign by initiating
court proceedings to have the Roma families' ownership of their homes
declared illegal. An attorney with the Justice Initiative and local
counsel appeared before the local high court to assist the families
in securing legal title to their properties. But in proceedings that
violated fundamental standards of due process, the court issued
decisions on May 3, 2006 rejecting the families' claims and opening
the door to the forced evictions that would follow.
The Justice Initiative then filed a request for interim measures with
the European Court of Human Rights, which was denied.
The Justice Initiative will pursue an application with the European
Court of Human Rights on behalf of several of the families.
"The destruction of this community is especially brazen at a time
when Russia holds the presidency of the G8 and is hosting the G8
Summit in St. Petersburg," said James A. Goldston, Executive Director
of the Open Society Justice Initiative.
Additional information is available at www.errc.org and
Contact: Dimitrina Petrova +36 1 413 2200 (Budapest)
Contact: James A. Goldston +1 212 548 0118 (New York)
The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is an international public
interest law organisation engaging in a range of activities aimed at
combating anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma. The
approach of the ERRC involves, in particular, strategic litigation,
international advocacy, research and policy development, and training
of Romani activists. The ERRC is a cooperating member of the
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights and has
consultative status with the Council of Europe, as well as with the
Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. www.errc.org
The Open Society Justice Initiative, an operational program of the
Open Society Institute (OSI), pursues law reform activities grounded
in the protection of human rights, and contributes to the development
of legal capacity for open societies worldwide. The Justice
Initiative combines litigation, legal advocacy, technical assistance,
and the dissemination of knowledge to secure advances in five
priority areas: national criminal justice, international justice,
freedom of information and expression, equality and citizenship, and
anticorruption. Its offices are in Abuja, Budapest, and New York.
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