ERRC Appeals to Portuguese Authorities to Restore Water in Romani Community

09 February 2011

Budapest, Vidigueira, 9 February 2011: Yesterday, the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) sent a letter to the Portuguese municipality of Vidigueira expressing concern about its destruction of the water supply in an informal Romani settlement, as well as the deplorable housing conditions in the settlement. Sixty-seven Roma were deprived of water, including young children, elderly people and pregnant women.

During a 4 February 2011 visit, the ERRC interviewed several residents of the settlement where 16 Romani families live without electricity, drainage, waste removal or toilets. Residents explained that representatives of the municipality of Vidigueira and the police had destroyed 12 taps which constituted the only water source in the settlement the previous day.

In its letter, the ERRC recalled that deprivation of water threatens human survival and that the actions of Vidigueira authorities appear to violate international law, including the right to adequate housing and to fresh water sources. The ERRC called on local authorities to act promptly to restore the water supply and to guarantee adequate housing for the Romani community.

The full text of the ERRC letter is available in English and Portuguese.

The European Committee of Social Rights is currently considering a collective complaint against Portugal filed by the ERRC concerning discrimination, housing and social protection of Roma.

For further information, contact:
Sinan Gokcen
Media and Communications Officer


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