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Portugal Brought Before European Tribunal for Roma Housing Situation

7 May 2010

Budapest, Lisbon, Strasbourg: On 23 April 2010, the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) registered a collective complaint filed by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) against Portugal concerning the housing situation of Roma in the country. On the basis of field research, documentation and continuous monitoring in Portugal over the last five years, the ERRC submitted that Portugal has failed to meet its human rights obligations under the Revised European Social Charter (RESC).  

The widespread housing-related injustices occurring in Portugal include problems of access to social housing, substandard quality of housing, lack of access to basic utilities, residential segregation of Romani communities and other systemic violations of the right to housing; these are compounded by a lack of practical access to effective legal remedies for redress. The ERRC asserts that the sum of housing-related injustices in Portugal constitutes a violation of Articles 16 (the right of the family to social, legal and economic protection) and 31 (right to housing). Furthermore, the living conditions of Roma in Portugal demonstrate their social exclusion, in violation of Article 30 (right to protection against poverty and social exclusion). Each of these violations may be read alone or in conjunction with Article E (non-discrimination) of the RESC. 

Looking forward to the ECSR’s consideration and decision in respect of this collective complaint, the ERRC hopes that the Portuguese Government will be held to account for the substandard housing situation of Roma and urged to undertake measures to improve housing conditions and combat social exclusion of Roma, in accordance with the RESC. 

The full text of the collective complaint, No. 61/2010 European Roma Rights Centre v Portugal, is available here

For further information, contact:

Lydia Gall, ERRC Lawyer, lydia.gall@errc.org, +36.30.500.2242 
Sinan Gokcen, ERRC Media and Communications Officer, sinan.gokcen@errc.org, +36.30.500.1324.

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