UN advisor condemns plans for forced eviction at Dale farm

Photo-story by Grattan Puxon
A UN advisor has told Dale Farm residents that ultimately the British government is responsible for making sure they are not left homeless if Basildon council carries out its long-standing eviction threat.

Prof Yves Cabannes, chair of the UN advisory group on forced evictions, also congratulated families on having maintained residence at Crays Hill despite many efforts to move them.

“A forced eviction is the wrong way to go about things,” Prof Cabannes said while addressing a meeting of residents  Prof Cabannes is a member of the executive of the Italian-based International Alliance of Inhabitants, which sponsors the event worldwide.

Dale Farm zero eviction

Chair of the Gypsy Council Joe Jones said the crisis at Dale Farm and elsewhere around the country was caused by the failure of local authorities to designate suitable land for Travellers to live on. He said they had been dragging their feet over this duty since l994. “Just tell us where we can live legally,” Jones reiterated, “and we’ll go there.”

The Gypsy Council has submitted a planning application to develope a caravan park near Dale Farm. It is preparating two similar applications, and says alternative sites can be created using governmment funding.

If allowed to proceed, these plans would save the taxpayers the cost of a three week eviction operation and achieve a peaceful resolution of the issue.

“We know we have to stop this eviction,” said Richard Sheridan, spokesman for the Crays Hill Travellers. “If Dale Farm falls it could give the greenlight for more operations like this not only here but across Europe.”

Earlier, Romani activists from around Europe attended a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the lst World Romani Congress, hosted by the Gypsy Council in London in l971. The congress opened on 8 April, which has since become Roma Nation Day.

Among those attending was Juan de Dios Ramirez Heredia, the first Roma MEP, a veteran of the London Congress. A performance before the jubilee dinner in Harrow was given by Theatre Chaplin from Croatia.

The day began with a commemoration at St John’s Church, Waterloo, in memory of the 500,000 Roma murdered by the Nazis and present-day victims of anti-Gypsy violence.

A World to Win was represented at the commemoration.

11 April 2011

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