Standards Do Not Apply: Inadequate Housing in Romani Communities

02 February 2011

Standards Do Not Apply: Inadequate Housing in Romani Communities

Roma in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia live in substandard housing conditions. Racism and discrimination pose obstacles to Roma in accessing adequate housing conditions. Discrimination by public officials is apparent not only during the process of forced evictions, but also in access to social housing. Private citizens were also found to have discriminated against Roma. Many Romani communities lack security of tenure; other housing rights violations can arise from this fundamental problem. A significant number of Roma in the target countries live in informal settlements. Local authorities continue to forcibly evict Roma, or disrupt their lives by threatening Romani residents with forced evictions and destruction of their property. Roma face a series of specific obstacles, including lack of information, restrictions and discriminatory criteria, which impede their access to social housing. Some authorities have built segregated social housing which only houses Romani residents, deepening their isolation. Some communities are located next to garbage dumps or other hazardous areas. The substandard housing conditions of Roma negatively affect their access to education, employment and healthcare. The European Roma Rights Centre developed this report within the project “Empowerment of Roma to Fight Rights Deprivation”, supported by the United Nations Democracy Fund. It aims to facilitate the further exchange of information, new ideas and potential solutions which might improve the living conditions of Roma. It can be used as an advocacy tool by Roma and non-Roma alike, particularly the different actors who are involved in the Decade of Roma Inclusion and the implementation of the national action plans on housing.



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