Roma face housing rights' violations in Greece

15 May 1998

The Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) reported that the mayor of the Ano Liosia district of Athens refused to allow a Rom to build a house on a piece of land which he legally owned. The Rom, Mr Loukas Christakis, bought the land three years ago and applied for planning permission to build a house. The surveyor, the town planner, and the head topographer all agreed that the building could proceed. Mr Christakis, however, needed a document affirming ownership from the town council. The latter, however, refused to grant Mr Christakis this document. Mr Christakis then referred the matter to his lawyer, who made a deposition with the District Attorney of the First Court in Athens. The latter then gave a written order to the mayor and the head of municipal technical services of the Ano Liosia council, ordering them to issue the ownership certificate at once. This order was evidently ignored. The Greek Helsinki Monitor presented the above facts to the deputy of Synaspismos, Ms Nitsa Loule, who tabled the question in Parliament on February 16, addressing the Minister of the Interior, Public Justice, and Decentralisation.

Another case presented to Ms Loule by the GHM was that of Mr A. Tsakiris, also from Ano Liosia. On December 31, 1992, Mr Tsakiris applied for planning permission for a house on land which he owned. He was not granted the permission. On September 21, 1993, the Ano Liosia Council decided to expropriate both the land and the house, and in October 1993, the Council Board of Ano Liosia did so. Ownership of the land was subsequently transferred to a local monastery, on the grounds that it was regarded as an extension of the surrounding area of a chapel, and was therefore for public use. Mr Tsakiris was promised another piece of land as compensation, but he has not yet been provided with this. He currently lives, with his eight children, in a nylon shack in the Agio Georgiou area of Ano Liosia. Mr Tsakiris has had to be hospitalised for a cardiac operation. His relatives assert that his condition has been aggravated by his situation.

(Greek Helsinki Monitor)

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