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Bulgarian authorities should prevent forced evictions, tackle the stigmatisation and marginalisation of Roma and improve their access to adequate housing, including social housing

Rule 9
Strasbourg 02/11/2020
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Bulgarian authorities should prevent forced evictions, tackle the stigmatisation and marginalisation of Roma and improve their access to adequate housing, including social housing

The Commissioner published today her submission to the Committee of Ministers in the context of the supervision of the execution of the judgment of 24 April 2012 by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Yordanova and Others v. Bulgaria.

The case concerns the planned eviction of Roma people from an informal settlement in the Bulgarian capital in violation of Article 8 (right to private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Commissioner bases her observations on her report on Bulgaria published in March 2020 and her ongoing work to promote respect for the human rights of Roma across the Council of Europe member states.

The Commissioner stresses that in addition to seriously infringing the right to adequate housing, forced evictions may in fact lead to violations of a wide spectrum of human rights, meaning that it is essential to prevent them. She points out that states have an obligation to limit the risk of human rights violations related to evictions and to ensure that the principles of proportionality and non-discrimination are respected in any eviction process.

She also considers that the problem of evictions of Roma in Bulgaria can only be effectively addressed in the context of a broader effort to tackle the widespread prejudice and institutional racism against Roma, and through structural changes in the area of housing rights. In this connection, she reiterates her concerns about the numerous obstacles to Roma access to social housing, including public opposition at local level, which has led some municipalities to cancel construction projects.

“For the vicious circle of evictions to be stopped, the authorities have to move away from punitive approaches and start addressing the housing situation of Roma on the basis of the relevant international human rights standards”, she concludes, detailing steps that she believes should be taken to prevent forced evictions in the light of these standards.