The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Friday expressed deep regret at the insistence of authorities in the United Kingdom to proceed with the eviction of Gypsy and Traveller families at the Dale Farm in Essex before providing culturally appropriate alternative accommodation to them.
“We call on the Government to suspend the planned eviction, which would disproportionately affect the lives of the Gypsy and Traveller families, particularly women, children and older people,” the Committee members said.
“We urge the authorities to find a peaceful and appropriate solution, including identifying culturally appropriate accommodation, with full respect for the rights of the families involved,” the Committee added.
The Committee reviewed the combined 18th, 19th and 20th reports of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland at its current session in Geneva. The Dale Farm issue was extensively discussed with the United Kingdom’s delegation.
In March 2010, the Committee sent a letter to the United Kingdom under its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure on the matter, expressing its concern, seeking clarification and calling for protection of the human rights of the families.
The evictions may breach articles 2 and 5 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and are inconsistent with the Committee’s General Recommendation No. 27 (2000) on Discrimination against Roma.
“Travellers and Gypsies already face considerable discrimination and hostility in wider society and the Committee is deeply concerned that this could be worsened by actions taken by authorities in the current situation and by some media reporting of the issues,” the Committee noted.
The Committee will today issue its concluding observations on the United Kingdom as well as Albania, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Kenya, Maldives, Malta, Paraguay and Ukraine. The documents will be accessible on the Committee’s website on http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/cerds79.htm.
To read the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, please visit: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cerd.htm
To access the Committee’s Early-Warning Measures and Urgent Procedures, visit: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/early-warning.htm
To see General Comments issued by the Committee, visit: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/comments.htm