Albania: Roma families at risk of forced eviction
Around 37 Roma families in Albania are being threatened with forced eviction as the land they currently inhabit is targeted for redevelopment.
The landowner has refused to respect procedures set out in law, and the authorities have failed to take adequate measures to provide the Roma with alternative housing.
The land being targeted for redevelopment is the site of the former Centre for the Realization of Works of Art, situated in Rruga Kavaja, Tirana, the capital. Some families have lived there for 10 years and are now due to be forcibly evicted. A development company, namely Park Construction Albania, has told them that their homes will be demolished on 7 August 2013, and some families have already left after their homes were demolished.
According to information received from the People’s Advocate (Ombudsperson), construction work has already started on part of the site, and the company has restricted access to parts of the site for which planning permission has been obtained, which means that Roma cannot freely come and go.
The company informed the People’s Advocate that they will close off the rest of the site as soon as final planning permission is granted, and they want the Roma families to be gone by then. The company claims that it has no obligations to the Roma, despite numerous requests by the People’s Advocate that the landowner follow relevant legal and judicial processes.
Although the company claims it has no obligations to the Roma who have no legal title to the land, international standards for forced evictions still apply irrespective of whether a person is occupying the land lawfully or unlawfully. Furthermore, although a law preventing forced evictions does not exist in Albania, the law of the country does oblige the landowner to provide the Roma living there with 10 days’ notice.
Despite this, none of the families has yet been provided any adequate or formal notice of eviction. Instead they have been threatened by construction company workers, and several Roma have already filed complaints with the local police station.
Please write immediately in English or your own language to the authorities:
* Urging the authorities to ensure that some 30-40 Roma families currently living in the Rruga Kavaja in Tirana are not forcibly evicted without a judicial decision, due advance notice, and information about legal remedies available;
* Calling on them to ensure that any eviction is carried out in accordance with international standards, including the UN Guidelines on Development-Based Evictions and Resettlement, and in accordance with Albanian law, following a decision by the relevant court.
* Urging that they provide alternative housing, which meets international standards for adequate housing, for these families, after having duly consulted with them;
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 30 AUGUST 2013 TO: (Time difference = GMT + 1 hrs / BST as UK)
Mayor of Tirana
Blvd. Dëshmorët e Kombit, Tirana, Albania
Salutation: Dear Mr Basha
Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities
Ministër i Punës, Cështjeve Sociale dhe Shanseve te Barabarta
Rruga e Kavajës, Tirana, Albania
Email: email@example.com or
Salutation: Dear Minister
PLEASE SEND COPIES OF YOUR APPEAL TO
His Excellency Mr Mal Berisha, Embassy of the Republic of Albania, 33 St George's Drive, London, SW1V 4DG
Fax: 020 7828 8869 Tel: 020 7828 8897
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.