Around Europe, many Roma live in appalling housing conditions, with no access to mains water or sewerage, no electricity and no paved roads. They are frequently forced to live far from the centre of towns and cities, in racially segregated conditions. Often their settlements are unauthorised or they cannot prove they have title to property due to lack of documentation, leaving them highly vulnerable to forced and frequent evictions.
Those Roma and Traveller nomadic communities who wish to maintain an itinerant lifestyle are for their part often confronted with a severe shortage of sites, leading to an explosive combination of unsuitable living conditions for them and tensions with local residents and authorities.
This situation has dire consequences for the health and access to employment of Roma and Travellers and for the access of their children to education, both of which severely diminish the life chances and life expectancy of Roma and Travellers. Moreover, the situation both results from and fuels anti-Gypsyism. There have been many violent attacks on Roma settlements in Europe in recent years, and numerous evictions leaving children and adults traumatised and their shelter and belongings destroyed. Local authorities and police moreover do not always respond in ways that are conducive to protecting human rights.
The Parliamentary Assembly should investigate these issues, which involve an intricate chain of discrimination and other human rights violations, as has already been confirmed by the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Committee of Social Rights. It should conduct in-depth research into discrimination against Roma and Travellers in the field of housing throughout Europe and, on the basis of these findings, make recommendations to member States in order to put an end to this situation.