Another Forced Eviction of Albanian Roma in Greece
11 March 2005
According to ERRC research, conducted in partnership with the Athens-based non-governmental organisation Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM), the homes of eight legally registered migrant Romani families from Albania were demolished in the Greek city of Patras on October 30, 2004. ERRC/GHM research revealed that, without any official notice, representatives of the Municipality of Patras and local police arrived at the settlements of Makrigianni and Glafkos with excavating equipment and forced Romani residents to dismantle their makeshift homes. Officials destroyed the homes of residents who refused to do so, with the exception of one home, which was saved by a young Romani man who refused to move from between his home and the excavating machine.
Municipal authorities two months earlier razed to the ground the homes of the same, and twenty-seven other, Romani families. On November 4, Patras municipal authorities issued a statement denying that the eviction targeted Albanian Roma. However, according to ERRC/GHM research, the homes of thirteen Greek Romani families, who were affected by the previous eviction, were spared. The families, whom municipal authorities rendered homeless following the eviction, have set up makeshift shacks in the same area.
Systemic violations of the rights of Roma to adequate housing in Greece is the subject of an ERRC collective complaint against Greece under the European Social Charter. The complaint was filed in April 2003 and was pending decision as of February 25, 2005. At a public hearing concerning the complaint in October 2004, attended by representatives of the ERRC, the GHM and the Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), committee members posed detailed questions to Greek officials regarding, amongst others, the issue of forced evictions to which the Greek officials failed to provide satisfactory answers. The ERRC, supported by the GHM and COHRE, recommended that the Committee find the Greek government in violation of the European Social Charter because of wide-spread practices of forced evictions of Roma; the existence and enforcement of discriminatory legislation; and failure to ensure the improvement of inadequate housing conditions for Roma. For further information on the human rights situation of Roma in Greece, visit the ERRC's Internet website at www.errc.org enter “Greece” into the “country” box of the search engine and click “enter”. Information can also be found on the GHM’s Internet website at: http://Greekhelsinki.gr/special-issues-roma.html.