400 Irish Travelers

What is affected
Housing private
Land Private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 23 August 2011
Region E [ Europe ]
Country England
Location Basildon, Essex

Affected persons

Total 400
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution

Forced eviction

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Interntl org.
Brief narrative

Human rights campaigners have called for a halt to the eviction of families living on the UK`s largest illegal travellers` site. Amnesty International says the planned eviction of almost 100 families living on Dale Farm, near Basildon, Essex, could leave up to 400 people homeless. Basildon Council officials, supported by Essex Police, are expected to take action to clear the site next month if the travellers do not leave by August 31. The cost of the clearance is expected to reach £9.5 million. Travellers` groups have said they are unwilling to meet this deadline and hundreds of people have pledged to join them in non-violent resistance. The plea from Amnesty follows similar calls from Raquel Rolnik, the UN`s special rapporteur on housing, and Rita Izak, a UN independent expert on minority issues. Jezerca Tigani, Amnesty`s deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia programme, said: Up to 400 people could be left homeless as a result of the forced eviction, which would require them to vacate their plots without an authorised site to which they can take their caravans. The authorities must ensure that their actions do not break international law. They should instead talk to the residents of Dale Farm and reach a negotiated solution. Traveller families settled on the former scrapyard more than a decade ago. About 110 children are thought to live there. The eviction notice applies to about half the plots which are unauthorised developments. The land is owned by traveller families but they have been denied permission to build residential properties. Some have been offered bricks and mortar housing as an alternative but many do not want this. They fear they will be unable to find a culturally suitable alternative. Ms Tigani said: A negotiated settlement is a must and the local authorities should work with those living at Dale Farm towards achieving it. This means genuine consultation, in a manner that seeks meaningful input from travellers rather than a form-filling exercise, and, if an eviction is unavoidable, ensuring adequate alternative housing which allows the Irish travellers to express their cultural identity. Council leader Tony Ball said the authority had spent the last 10 years trying to find a peaceful solution. He said the council was still working to find a solution without the need for a clearance.


The United Nations housing chief has declared that Britain`s decision to evict travelers from the country`s biggest gypsy camp is infringing resident`s human rights. Basildon council issued eviction notices to the 400 residents living on 51 unauthorised pitches at the Dale Farm site in Essex and wanted them to move from the camp in 28 days. However, the UN`s special rapporteur on housing, Racquel Rolnik, has called upon the British government to delay the eviction so that the residents could find alternative housing. We urge the UK authorities to halt the evictions process and to pursue negotiations with the residents until an acceptable agreement for relocation is reached in full conformity with international human rights obligations, asserted Rolnik. Rolnik`s assertions may bolster calls for the eviction to be delayed, but they would not oblige the British government to act immediately. On the other hand, a spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said that Basildon council`s decision did not constitute a violation of human rights and that the council was “within its rights” to give eviction notices to the residents. Furthermore, the leader of Basildon council, Tony Ball said that charities are trying to instill hope into the residents by trying to make them believe that “a last-minute legal ruling could stop the site clearance.”

see http://www.presstv.ir/detail/193007.html

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