Threatened evictions of Roma in Greece

05 December 2000

The ERRC, in cooperation with the Athens-based non-governmental organization Greek Helsinki Monitor, has documented further attempts at eviction of Roma in Greece. On November 7, the Greek Romani cultural association Elpida, of Halandri, Greater Athens, publicly rejected an offer by the Ministry of the Interior to move the 46 Romani families living between Iridos and Sarantaporou streets in Halandri to another area. The organisation claimed that this move would lead to the creation of a new ghetto and stated that they would refuse any offer which did not involve the purchase of one home per family. The Roma reportedly demanded dispersal throughout the town, rather than continued segregation. The community has lived in Halandri for more than 30 years, and are currently housed in makeshift shanties lacking electricity and water services, isolated from the mainstream of Greek society. Since April 1999, eviction orders have been pending against the community, but have not been implemented due to the reaction of local non-governmental organisations.

On August 10, 2000, 102 Roma in Nea Alikarnasos, on the island of Crete, were served municipal orders to leave the land on which they had been living for fifteen years. On August 23, with the assistance of the Greek Helsinki Monitor, the Elpida Cultural Association of Roma of the Heraklion Prefecture filed an appeal to the Ombudsman's Office. On September 5, the Ombudsman, in a letter to the Mayor of Nea Alikarnasos, pointed out that a year ago a similar municipal action had been overturned by the Peace Court of Heraklion (Crete) as abusive, and that the municipality could not use a procedure which had previously been overturned by the court. As a result, the eviction was stopped. For more information on Roma and housing issues, see "Notebook", Roma Rights 2/2000, on the Internet at www.errc.org.

(Athens News, ERRC, Greek Helsinki Monitor)

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