On 27th January 2012 four Romani families, residing in the informal settlement of Kirtimai on the outskirts of Vilnius, Lithuania, received notifications that their houses are to be demolished at 8.00 am on 13th February 2012. The decisions are based on the conclusions of the Vilnius District Courts between the years 2010 and 2011 as regards the illegality of the buildings.
As the court decisions were taken among several cases almost two years ago, the motivation to carry them out now in February, which is usually the coldest month, is unclear. Out of the 10 people in the three houses concerned, there are seven children under 12 years of age, including a six-month-old infant. The temperature in Lithuania in the current period reaches -30 degrees. The local authorities are not providing any alternative housing solution for the families facing eviction.
Unfortunately, this event contradicts the effort of Lithuanian authorities to close the gap between the Roma minority and the majority of the population, as was stated, when committing to submit the National Roma Integration Strategy under the framework of the European Commission.
Furthermore, the planned evictions violate numerous human rights provisions, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
We would like to bring the attention of the international community to this precarious situation and ask them to support us in demanding:
1. suspension of the eviction until suitable weather conditions
2. provision of alternative housing to the Roma families