Wave of Racially-Targeted Housing Destruction in Turkey

22 September 2006

Civil Society Action to Halt Forced Evictions of Roma in Turkey

On 21 September 2006, the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), acting in partnership with Turkey-based civil society organizations – the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, Accessible Life Foundation, Sulukule Romani Culture, Solidarity and Development Association, and EDROM, sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Turkey calling for the Prime Minister's urgent attention and interference to halt the ongoing execution of forced evictions of Romani communities until a reasonable solution to the housing situation of the affected families is found. On the basis of an ongoing monitoring of the situation in several neighbourhoods in Istanbul with large numbers of Romani residents, the organisations noted that forced evictions of Roma have been carried out in gross violation of Turkey's obligations under international human rights law. Hundreds of Romani individuals have been exposed to homelessness and extremely substandard conditions, lacking basic sanitary and hygiene necessities. In some instances police used pepper spray against Romani individuals, including women and children.

The victims of the forced evictions carried out in Istanbul and elsewhere in Turkey are also threatened with deprivation of other basic rights. According to reports, in some instances, Romani children of evicted families have had problems enrolling at school due to the refusal by local authorities to provide them with residence certificates. Extreme impoverishment of Romani families aggravated by the forced evictions also poses serious obstacles for access to school.

The full text of the letter can be read:

  • in English:
  • in Turkish:


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