Welcome to our monthly round-up of news and activity from the ERRC. Summer is traditionally a quieter time, but we’re sorry to report there’s been a lot happening over the last month, as forced evictions continue in a number of countries, and education remains high on the agenda.
France Evicts and Expels Roma, Again
Around 500 migrant Roma have been evicted in the last month in France, and more than 200were put on a plane back to Romania. All this points to the new Government’s insistence on continuing the policies of the previous administration, which is particularly disappointing given President Hollande’s pre-election commitments to Roma. The ERRC has let the new Government know this is not acceptable. Our blog in the Nouvel Observateur on this got more than 5000 views . The European Commission has indicated it will look at France again, and the ERRC is compiling research data to submit our own report.
ERRC and Amnesty Fight Evictions in the Czech Republic
The ERRC and Amnesty International have been working together in Ostrava as a number of families face the risk of forced evicton. The organisations have been jointly lobbying to ensure that families are not evicted without adequate alternative accommodation. Eviction notices have been served, and the latest news is that families are still under threat and without a steady water supply. Thanks to our joint lobbying, the Directorate General for Regional Policy at the European Commission has already raised concerns with the local authorities, and we hope that with increased scrutiny the authorities will act appropriately. Either way, we’ll continue to monitor the situation and work hard to ensure these families are not forcibly evicted.
Focus on Serbia at the UN
The ERRC and the Minority Rights Centre jointly submitted a report on Serbia's human rights record under the UN’s Universal Period Review mechanism. The submission focused on topics including access to education, violence and forced evictions. Serbia has also been in the news as some of the Roma evicted from Belgrade’s Belvil camp have, in the last three months, been forced to live in an abandoned factory without water, electricity, sanitation or other facilities. The ERRC worked as part of the Platform on the Right to Housing to lobby the local government. Authorities finally acted to ensure there was access to water for these families. The ERRC also monitored the situation of several families forcibly relocated from the Belvil settlement to Leskovac threatened with forced eviction.
ERRC Calls on Ukraine to Investigate Violent Incident
Police were involved in a violent incident with Roma at the start of the month in Lviv, when militia stopped a car to check the documents of the driver and passengers. The situation escalated into an argument and later a fight. The circumstances surrounding the incident are very unclear, and the ERRC is concerned that the Lviv Prosecutor’s press office issued a press release describing a version of the events before an investigation had taken place. The ERRC is calling on the prosecutor to ensure that the investigation is impartial, objective and fair.