4th OPRE meeting: to be held in Council of Europe Office in Paris, 15-16 May 2017 under the auspices of the French Défenseur des Droits (Ombudsman)
Updated European Court of Human Rights' factsheets on Roma and Traveller related case law uploaded on OPRE website documents (in English and French)
"It is crucial that the French authorities provide all those who have been forced to leave the ‘Petite ceinture’ camp – including children and elderly people – with adequate, alternative accommodation, particularly as they have decided to take this action during winter", said Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.
"Last year an estimated 11,000 Roma people were evicted from their homes in France.
There is no evidence to suggest that a policy of mass forced eviction will bring a lasting solution to the exclusion and prejudice many Roma face.
On the contrary, forced evictions can prove counter-productive as they often disrupt the schooling of Roma children and hamper the efforts of those who provide basic healthcare to Roma communities, for example through vaccination campaigns."
Notes for editors: relevant European Court of Human Rights judgment: Winterstein and Others v. France (French language court judgment)
This case in the Council of Europe European Court of Human Rights concerned eviction proceedings brought against a number of traveller families who had been living in the same place for many years. The domestic courts issued orders for the families’ eviction, on pain of penalty for non-compliance. Although the orders were not enforced, many of the families moved out. Only four families were provided with alternative accommodation in social housing; the so-called family sites where the remaining families were to be accommodated were not created. The 14 applicants complained in particular that the order requiring them to vacate the land they had occupied for many years amounted to a violation of their right to respect for their private and family lives and their homes.
The Court held that there had been a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life and home) of the Convention. It noted in particular that the courts, despite acknowledging the lack of urgency and of any manifestly unlawful nuisance, had not taken into account the lengthy period for which the applicants had been settled, the municipal authorities’ toleration of the situation, the right to housing, the provisions of Articles 3 and 8 of the Convention and the Court’s case-law. The Court pointed out in that connection that numerous international and Council of Europe instruments stressed the need, in cases of forced eviction of Roma or travellers, to provide the persons concerned with alternative accommodation. The national authorities had to take into account the fact that such applicants belonged to a vulnerable minority; this implied paying special consideration to their needs and their different way of life when it came to devising solutions to the unlawful occupation of land or deciding on possible alternative accommodation.
In the aftermath of the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13th 2015, the Association of Mediterranean Ombudsmen (AOM) has issued a Declaration to express solidarity with those affected directly and the French society at large, as well to condemn the brutal acts of terrorist violence.
Declaration of AOM regarding the Paris terrorist attacks of November 13th 2015
The Association of Mediterranean Ombudsmen (AOM) expresses its deep grief and conveys condolences for the families and friends of those who lost their lives and those injured by the terrorist acts in Paris on the 13
th of November 2015. AOM strongly condemns these acts of terrorism, as grave and tragically painful acts perpetrated not only towards the French society but indeed all democratic countries.
On this occasion AOM affirms its solidarity with the French people and the French authorities, hereby expressing the maximum readiness to provide support in overcoming these daunting difficult days, as well as in addressing terrorism as a shared global threat.
AOM expresses the resolute persuasion that the brutal massacres shall not undermine the upholding of the highest values cherished and cultivated by the French society, as a model of democracy, freedom, respect for human rights, tolerance and coexistence.
On 6 October, the Albanian Ombudsman launched an administrative inquiry into the expected relocation of a number of Roma families residing in shacks on the banks of Tirana's artificial lake. The Ombudsman asked the Municipality of Tirana to explain the legal basis of their decision and the measures they intend to take to shelter the Roma families that are to be relocated.
Sandalous verdict acquits police of toturing Romani children
Court in Budapest punishes racist murders with three life sentences, fourth perpetrator gets 13 years.
D.H. and Others v. the Czech Republic
Placement of applicants, school children of Roma origin, in "special schools" intended for pupils with learning disabilities had not been justified. Violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the Convention in conjunction with Article 2 (right to education) of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention.