MINELRES: Slovak Parliamentary Commission Recommends Overhaul of State Housing Rights

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Thu Feb 28 15:47:54 2008


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


Civil Society Organizations Urge Deputy Prime Minister and Other
Relevant Organs of Government to Adopt Detailed Strategy to Combat
Housing Rights Violations 

Budapest, 27 February 2008. The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions
(COHRE), the Milan Simecka Foundation (MSF) and the European Roma Rights
Centre (ERRC) today welcomed publicly the recommendation by the Slovak
Parliament’s Committee for Human Rights, Nationalities and the Status of
Women of a resolution on the forced eviction of non-payers of rent,
adopted on 29 January 2008. The resolution was adopted following a
public hearing about the issue of forced evictions in the Parliamentary
Committee with participation of the Milan Simecka Foundation on 10
October 2007.

In the resolution, the Committee calls on Deputy Prime Minister Dusan
Caplovic, in conjunction with other relevant organs of government, to
undertake a range of measures, including the systematic monitoring of
the fulfilment of Article 11(1) of the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as elaborated by General Comments
4 and 7 of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights, setting out the parameters of the right to adequate housing;
joining Articles 30 and 31 of the Revised European Social Charter,
guaranteeing the right to protection against poverty and social
exclusion, and the right to housing respectively. The Council
additionally called on the relevant authorities to consider the adoption
of a law which would limit the allocation to private owners of
properties owned by the municipality in cases where the property in
question is currently inhabited by persons with official residence in
the municipality at issue, and thereby avoid the forced removal of these
tenants to other municipalities. Furthermore, the Committee also called
on the development of a targeted state policy on social housing and
efforts against extreme poverty in the field of housing and provide
municipal authorities with assistance in order to draft and successfully
implement their own local strategies of social inclusion and housing
policy.

Commenting on the measure, Milan Simecka Foundation Programs Director
Laco Oravec said, “These measures are extremely well-thought-out and
well-suited to Slovak reality. We cannot see any reason why Deputy Prime
Minister Caplovic would hesitate to adopt them in full.”

The Executive Director of the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) Vera
Egenberger stated, “The resolution is a significant moment in the
history of Slovak legislators. It deserves praise and demonstrates that
they are becoming fully aware of the acute housing problems Roma face in
Slovakia. We very much hope the Government will pay heed to the
resolution.“ COHRE Deputy Director Jean du Plessis said, “COHRE named
Slovakia as one of the three worst Housing Rights Violators for the year
2007. We would regard acting on the measures proposed by the
Parliamentary Council as a bold and commendable move towards remedying
the situation in Slovakia.”

COHRE named Slovakia one of the three worst housing rights violators for
2007 because the Government has persistently failed to protect the Roma
from discrimination and consequently deprived them of their housing and
associated rights. Forced evictions of Roma in Slovakia continue
unabated throughout the country. In 2007, large-scale forced evictions
of Roma have taken place in municipalities such as Tornala, Kezmarok,
Kosice and Nove Zamky. Further evictions are imminent and/or threatened
in Presov, Nitra, Levoca, Kezmarok and Zlate Moravce. Slovak authorities
have not yet implemented the decision by the United Nations Committee on
the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in the matter of L.R. and
Others v. Slovakia, in which the Committee found violations of
international law as a result of implemented policies of racial
segregation in the town of Dobsina.

It is estimated that over 120,000 Romani persons currently reside in
under-developed rural settlements and segregated urban slums in
Slovakia, or are otherwise housed in substandard housing conditions.


Contacts:
Marek Hojsik, Milan Simecka Foundation: marek@nadaciams.sk
Claude Cahn, Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE):
claudecahn@cohre.org
Sinan Goken, European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC): sinan.gokcen@errc.org

The three organisations joining this statement are currently involved in
a project supported by the Open Society Institute to secure the right to
adequate housing where Roma are concerned in Slovakia.

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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:
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European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Hungary
Tel: +36.1.413.2200
Fax:
+36.1.413.2201

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