NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
In its most recent report on the United Kingdom the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (in 2009) raised particular concern about the plight of Roma/Gypsies and Irish Travellers. The Rights Body said:
“31: The Committee is concerned about the shortage of adequate stopping sites for Roma/Gypsies and Irish Travellers, and reports concerning evictions of groups of Roma from their sites due to the compulsory purchase order of those sites for the organization of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It is also concerned about the discriminatory effect of the Unauthorised Encampments (Northern Ireland) Order 2005, which makes Roma/Gypsies and Irish Travellers liable to be evicted from their homes, to have their homes destroyed and then to be imprisoned and/or fined. (art. 11)
The Committee recommends that the State party ensure the provision of sufficient, adequate and secure stopping sites for Roma/Gypsies and Irish Travellers. It also recommends that the State party, in the organization of mega-events, ensure the protection of the most disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups, which may be disproportionately affected by such events, in line with the Committee’s general comment no. 7 (1997) on the right to adequate housing: forced evictions. It also encourages the State party to review the provisions of the Unauthorised Encampments (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 and to provide for suitable accommodation arrangements for Roma/Gypsies and Irish Travellers.”
Six years on very little seems to have changed indeed a recent court judgement in Essex indicates that the situation in getting worse (see link to Irish Times report at foot of this article):
The Celtic League has written to the UK Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government urging him not to give in to pressure to impose even stricter conditions on members of the Roma/Gypsy or Traveller Community.
“The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Mr Eric Pickles MP
2 Marsham Street
7th March 2015
I understand that a Local Council in the Essex area has written to your Department recently asking you to introduce tougher powers to deal with illegal encampments of Roma/Gypsies or Travellers.
I understand they also says Local Authorities should be able to remove Travellers from their areas without further need to go to the court, once a court order has previously been made, or where police have issued a section 61 notice to quit within the last year. They also say councils should also be able to move on Travellers and prevent their return for a year if they refuse to accept an offer of temporary accommodation in the locality.
You will be aware that the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) has periodically criticised the UK over the discrimination suffered by the Traveller Community.
In 2009 in its Concluding Observations the CESCR urged the United Kingdom to address this discrimination and saying it:
‘recommends that the State party ensure the provision of sufficient, adequate and secure stopping sites for Roma/Gypsies and Irish Travellers’.
I do hope that in line with the UN CESCR recommendations Her Majesty’s Government will address the fundamental problem i.e. the lack of adequate and secure stopping sites and not concede to pressures to impose harsher measures on the Irish Traveller community.
For information the Celtic League is an accredited NGO (ECOSOC) and our ‘fields of activity’ include ‘Minority Rights, Human Rights and Citizenship and Governance’.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information”
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur)
ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues
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