Greek authorities still have not completed promised accommodation for Roma

12 April 2000

In September 1998, the Prefect of Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, promised a group of local Roma that new accommodation for them in the former military barracks in Gonou, approximately six kilometres away, would be finished by May 15, 1999. As of March 16, 2000, however, the new camp was still not finished. These 250 Romani families, around 2000 people, were first evicted from the suburb of Evosmos in September 1998, and settled in the drained bed of the Galikos river in Thessaloniki. They have lived there since, in extremely poor conditions, without adequate water supplies or garbage collection. In the first five months after their arrival at the site, the settlement was flooded five times (see Abuse of Roma by police and municipal authorities in Greece in the “Snapshots around Europe” section of Roma Rights 1/1999).

The work on the barracks, planned to become a model self-managed camp, is reportedly behind schedule due to funding problems. The work performed so far has cost more than twice the amount initially envisaged, and the Greek Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the sponsor of the project, was late in paying the difference in the amount to the construction company. As of March 16, 2000, the Ministry had paid part of the money and promised to pay the rest. In January 2000, the Greek Helsinki Monitor witnessed that only the surrounding walls and the foundation for the multipurpose centre had been built in Gonou.

(Greek Helsinki Monitor)

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