As a result of centuries of discrimination, Roma are disproportionately likely to live in slums, and/or on land to which they have no tenure, and with poor services. The burdens of environmental degradation in these places, along with forced evictions, power cuts, and a lack of access to water or public transportation often fall disproportionately on women, given that in all European societies household work already falls mainly on them. These problems are dismissed as issues of poverty, instead of being recognised as rights violations or discrimination. This approach ignores the strong historical and racial antecedents, the socio-economic rights involved, as well as the way the burdens of unsustainable development have been allocated. The housing situation in which Roma find themselves is often misinterpreted as evidence confirming racist stereotypes, and Roma are forced to enact such stereotypes about themselves when evicted from their homes or reduced to living in squalor. Social housing policies, where they exist, promote the exclusion of Roma and directly or indirectly discriminate against Roma, preventing them from moving into integrated communities.
We supporting litigation that will make sure Roma are no longer forced out or off of the places they are living without being rehoused, that will require authorities to assist Roma in securing tenure to their homes and affordable access to public utilities, and that will possible for Roma to move into non-Roma communities through environmentally sustainable policies, including social housing policies.