MINELRES: CoE Committee of Ministers demands positive action on the housing of Bulgarian Roma

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Wed Oct 10 17:42:18 2007

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

Ambitious programme promised by the Bulgarian government  

Budapest, 8 October 2007 – The Committee of Ministers of the Council of
Europe has adopted a resolution following the European Committee on
Social Rights’ ruling in the case of European Roma Rights Center v
Bulgaria. The resolution confirms the Committee’s finding that Bulgaria
was in violation of the European Social Charter for its systematic
denial of the Roma’s right to adequate housing. 

The European Committee of Social Rights’ ruled on 18 October 2007 that
“the situation [in Bulgaria] concerning the inadequate housing of Roma
families and the lack of proper amenities constitutes a violation of
Article 16 and the revised Charter taken together with Article E”. The
ERRC had presented information to the Committee arguing that many Roma
in Bulgaria live in substandard housing and living conditions.
Frequently, their homes consist of makeshift shacks made of cardboard,
metal scraps and mud bricks, often devoid of windows, doors and walls
while basic facilities such as water, electricity, heating, sewage and
public transport are often non-existent. 

In response to the ruling, Bulgaria announced new legislation to
simplify the legalisation of existing buildings and the construction of
new dwellings, including social housing. Furthermore an alternative to
municipality run housing to afford access to disadvantaged groups will
be established. In addition, Bulgaria will permit delays in the
execution of court verdicts which damage the interests of the Roma

The ERRC welcomes the commitment of the Bulgarian government to address
the appalling housing conditions in which many of its Roma citizens

The ERRC commends the Bulgarian government on the steps it intends to
take to tackle the serious housing situation of its Roma citizens and
looks forward to progress being made to alleviate their substandard and
often primitive living conditions. 

This is the third collective complaint taken by the ERRC which has
resulted in findings of a violation of the European Social Charter in
respect of housing conditions of Roma in both new and old EU member
states, namely Italy, Greece and Bulgaria. 

Contact Information: ERRC: (36 1) 413 2227 olga.demian@errc.org 

Background information 

The Committee of Ministers resolution confirms the ruling on 18 October
2006 of the European Committee of Social Rights which found that
Bulgaria was in violation of the European Social Charter for its
systematic denial of the Roma’s right to adequate housing. In the case
of the ERRC v. Bulgaria, the European Committee of Social Rights held
that Bulgaria’s policies with respect to the housing and accommodation
of Roma infringe Article 16 (right of the family to social, legal and
economic protection) and Article E (which focuses on non-discrimination)
of the European Social Charter because: 

Romani families are disproportionately affected by legislation which
limits the possibility of legalizing illegal dwellings; 
Romani families experience inadequate housing conditions and lack proper
amenities and Roma are systematically evicted from their homes without
providing them with adequate alternative housing. 

The Committee of Ministers has asked the Bulgarian government to include
a progress report on the issues in the collective complaint in its next
report and to keep the Committee of Ministers regularly informed of all
progress made. 

The full text of the European Committee of Social Rights decision in
Collective Complaint 31/2005, ERRC v. Bulgaria, is available at: 


The full text of the Resolution [CM/ResChS(2007)2] Collective Complaint
(No. 31/2005) by the ERRC against Bulgaria is available at: 


The European Committee of Social Rights supervises implementation by
States of the European Social Charter and Revised European Social
Charter. Further information on the Committee and the Charters is
available at: http://www.coe.int/T/E/Human_Rights/Esc/ 


The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the human rights situation 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 

To support the ERRC, please visit this link:

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200

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