Portugal’s Housing Policy for Roma Violates Social Charter
7 November 2011
Budapest, Strasbourg, 7 November 2011: The European Committee of Social Rights today delivered a decision, finding Portugal in violation of the Revised European Social Charter. This followed a collective complaint brought by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) concerning the housing situation of Roma in Portugal.
The Committee of Social Rights is the monitoring body established under the European Social Charter. The decision sends a clear message to the Portuguese government that they must act to end this situation.
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 committee said that the “continuing precarious housing conditions for a large part of the Roma community, coupled with the fact that the Government has not demonstrated that it has taken sufficient measures to ensure that Roma live in housing conditions that meet minimum standards” was in breach of Portugal’s obligations under the social charter.
Dezideriu Gergely, Executive Director of the ERRC, said,“ We welcome the committee's recognition that Portuguese authorities have discriminated against Roma in failing to improve segregated, substandard housing conditions for these communities. We urge Portuguese authorities to rethink housing policies which worsen living conditions and to invest in sustainable, lasting solutions.”
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ERRC Media and Communications Officer