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Combating discrimination against Roma and Travellers in the field of housing

Standing Committee meeting meets in Rome

The Standing Committee has condemned the fact that many Roma and Travellers in Europe “still live, against their will”, in unsuitable and racially segregated housing on the outskirts of urban areas, often lacking the most basic amenities and vulnerable to forced evictions and demolition, as well as to violent attacks. Communities wishing to maintain an itinerant lifestyle are often faced with a severe shortage of reception areas, which also creates indecent living conditions and overcrowding, while being a source of tension with residents and local authorities.

According to the parliamentarians, “anti-Gypsyism and anti-nomadism are frequently at the root of these serious human rights abuses”; instead of combating these phenomena, “local authorities often use their scale as a pretext either to take no action to remedy these violations or to carry out forced evictions”. The absence of long-term solutions also causes these situations of human rights violations to persist.

Adopting a resolution, based on a report by František Kopřiva (Czech Republic, ALDE), the Standing Committee called on member States to identify the housing and accommodation needs of Roma and Travellers and to explore all the measures that would allow them to access it, including measures such as the legalisation of existing dwellings, including caravans. Forced evictions should be ended and, in particular, evictions “only as a last resort” should be implemented, sufficient notice should be provided and a suitable rehousing solution offered to all those concerned.

Considering that the implementation of the right of Roma and Travellers to decent housing requires broader support measures, the committee called on member States to ensure that national legislation fully incorporates international human rights standards as regards the right to decent housing, in particular the prevention of forced evictions, and provides for the right to live in an itinerant dwelling.