ACTION: Romani Families Made Homeless In Albania (UA 34/12)
We have received word that many Romani families have been subjected to forced eviction in Tirana, Albania.
The United Nations state that 'Forced evictions constitute gross violations of a range of internationally recognised human rights, including the human rights to adequate housing, food, water, health, education, work, security of the person, freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and freedom of movement.'
Write a letter to the Albanian authorities today demanding adequate alternatives for these families!
25 Romani families living at a site near the Artificial Lake in Tirana
Around 25 Romani families have been made homeless, after local authorities obliged them to dismantle the sheds in which they were living at a site in Tirana, Albania’s capital.
Of 25 Romani families living at a site near the Artificial Lake in Tirana, at least seven have lived on this site for several years. The remaining 18 came to this site after leaving an informal settlement near Tirana Railway Station following attacks by non-Romani men from outside the settlement in February 2011. At the time the authorities undertook to renovate former military barracks for their use, but a year later reconstruction work has not yet started (see also UA: 32/12: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR11/001/2012/en).
The 25 families living at the Artificial Lake claim that on 21 January 2012 officials from Tirana Municipality came to the site and informed them verbally that they had to leave the site. Three days later the officials returned and told them to dismantle their sheds and leave or the authorities would bulldoze them. They therefore pulled down their sheds, wishing to preserve the materials. They were not provided with any alternative accommodation. On 27 January about 16 of these families, unable to find another site, returned to the Artificial Lake site and started to rebuild their sheds. However, they continue to risk imminent eviction.
It seems that none of the families was consulted or provided with adequate or formal notice of eviction. Under international law, evictions may be carried out only as a last resort, once other alternatives have been explored in genuine consultation with the affected communities. The authorities then have a duty to provide them with adequate notice. The authorities must ensure that no families are made homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights as a consequence of eviction. This includes providing them with legal remedies, including provision of compensation for the destruction of their homes, possessions and loss of income. Evictions should not be carried out in winter.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English or your own language urging the Mayor of Tirana and the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities to:
* provide adequate housing for these families without further delay, after having duly consulted with them;
* ensure that any temporary accommodation is indeed temporary and does not become permanent, by providing the necessary financial and other resources for the renovation, as necessary, of permanent housing, to a standard that meets international standards for adequate housing;
* keep the families fully informed and updated on progress.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 15 MARCH 2012 TO: (Time difference = GMT + 1 hrs / BST as UK)
Mayor of Tirana
Blvd. Dëshmorët e Kombit, Tirana, Albania
Salutation: Dear Mr Basha
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